Updated: Mar 30, 2021
Porsche is looking at India as a potential market for its new-gen Panamera Sedan even as it will continue to focus on its other models across various segments.
Porsche highlighted the confidence of the investors in India mentioning the launch of new-format showrooms in Delhi and Mumbai, and this in the pandemic times.
Porsche, a Volkswagen group company, had rolled out, in Feb 2021, the 2021 edition Panamera in four variants, Panamera, GTS, Turbo S, and Turbo S E-hybrid, priced between Rs 1.45 crore and ₹2.43 crore (both ex-showroom).
"For sure, India can also become a Panamera market in the future. It is also one important segment which we want to develop in the future," Monolito Vujicic, brand head at Porsche India, told PTI in an interaction.
He said the company delivered the first Panamera to a customer just after one week of the opening of the new outlet in Delhi in January. "It means there are customers here, we have to communicate it the right way," Vujicic said that even Panamera Exclusive, which is the limited edition of the luxury sedan, is an option for the Indian market.
Currently, Porsche’s range in India, which includes the 718 and 911 sports cars, Panamera, and the Macan, Cayenne, and Cayenne Coupe SUVs, are imported as completely built units (CBUs).
"We will focus on all models and not on particular segments like cars or SUVs. Every Porsche is a sports car," Vujicic said when asked whether the company expects the SUV to drive sales volume going forward.
"I already have information some customers say they are missing the supercar. So, the availability of supercars has not been appropriate," he said.
Mr. Vujicic expressed surprised on coming to know that the customers ask models such as GT3 and GT2. The same amount of energy goes into bringing one of these cars into the market in the same sense as achieving 70 percent of the SUV volume, he added.
"So, any car any product is paying importance and all together will make the inter-model mix, which will vary and then it's also another mix of Porsche India. But, for sure, it will never concentrate only on one segment and say that now, we are going straight forward only for the SUV market," he said.
Vujicic said the company has started 2021 on a good note, which is great for the brand as well as India, this at a time when the premium car segment has dropped by 40 percent in sales in 2020, due to the pandemic as also the slowdown in the automobile sector and general economy.
"At a time when everybody's asking about keeping the investment flow down and conservative, you see our investors are really believing in us and this is really unbelievable. That shows that we are going in the right direction," he said.
"Our customers in India, like all other markets and India, possibly, have not really lost volume in the previous year compared to 2019 even when it had a three-month lockdown," Vujicic said.
He said that this means that the impact of COVID-19 and also the economic crisis hasn't so much impacted the company's brand. "Therefore, we are looking positive in our future," he said. Mr.Vujicic expressed that the plan for products and sales numbers is forecast to grow last year; and would be primarily dependant on the channel partners and activities as also the pandemic situation this year.
A better customer experience through its new format showrooms and product and service experience too will contribute to spreading the better word of mouth and higher footfalls and sales. The company will be working very strategically in ensuring profitability for its channel partners.
"That's the only way dealers can develop themselves and invest in the future in our brand. So, that's what I would say is the main strategy. And the other side, we have to ensure that every customer whoever bought a car in India is happy with the car, and our services," he said.
Porsche India, therefore, believes that its investors who came up with the new format can utilize investments soon, he added. The company has six dealerships at present and will not be going in for expansion in the near future. It will work with the present set of dealers to expand into Tier-1, Tier II, Tier III cities. Keeping the profitability high and early return on investment of existing dealers will be the topmost priority.
Vujicic also said Porsche, which had a foray into digital sales last year, is looking at achieving 3-4 percent of its total sales from the online format, going forward."We achieved 1 percent of all the intake from online sales. So, our target would be approximately 3-4 percent of all intake coming from online. But, we have to learn this new journey, this customer journey online," he said.