What are your top priorities for India?
First of all, we are focusing on the existing dealers. We want to make them profitable, as only then can we have good customer care, which is my major focus. But it’s not only limited to sales, we want to take the level of service even higher so that we can build trust with our customers here in India.
What are your plans for Porsche’s Mumbai operations?
We have started the new Mumbai showroom with the ‘Porsche Now’ system, but by the end of this year, it will be developed to the ‘Destination Porsche’ format, which is more appropriate to a dealership of this size. It’s where customers can not only see their car in virtual reality, but where they can come in and feel and smell the leather and really personalise it very well. Also, we are very keen to do this, as the Mumbai market is very important to us, we have a lot of potential customers here and this facility currently supports 600 of our existing customers.
Will Porsche look to expand the network in India?
We already have six dealers in India, and rather than add new partners, we want to help our current dealers expand their presence and go to satellite cities with an easier format; for example, like this Porsche Now format. We have identified white spaces all around the country and we are drawing up plans to address these, and even though online is a major part of the future, it will always be with our existing partners. Also, down the line, we are exploring the possibility of using the Volkswagen service network to expand our service reach in India. We are the Volkswagen group and so we can and should use the existing network, as it also helps strengthen the group’s partners. And in times of crisis like COVID-19, this is the right thing to do, so this is something we want to look into.
How was Porsche’s performance this 2021?
We are happy with our performance this year, as more or less we have achieved the same numbers as last year. And that, I always say, is really not a strength of Porsche, but the strength of our customers and the love for the brand. As, despite the hard times, our customers have managed to reach us, and for that we can only say thank you.
Are you looking at growth in sales numbers?
We are very proud of our results in Q1, which compare well with last year. It’s one of the best results in the last 5 years, but what is more important is that we have positive feedback from our customers so in that way they will help us grow our market.
Given the lack of charging infrastructure, why is it important for Porsche to have the Taycan in India?
The Taycan is an icon, when we tested the car it’s an unbelievable feeling to see what electrification can do and it represents the start of a new era. So for sure we have to bring the Taycan to India and it’s not about numbers, even one car in the market is a success. Of course, I’m sure there will be more than one, but bringing the Taycan here means that we will do everything to provide all types of customers with something that they really desire. And so, seeing the car on the roads of Mumbai and Kolkata is really a success story for us.
Which are the more popular Porsche cars in India?
If you look at the whole pie, 70 percent of our sales come from SUVs, 15 to 20 percent from the Panamera, and then the rest comes from the sportscar line-up. So that is the statistic, but in my opinion it does not matter what car or type of car our customers pick up, as long as it a Porsche car, of course.
How have the hybrids performed in India?
In India, it’s clearly a petrol-focused market. In Japan, there is a demand for hybrids, but in China and also in India it isn’t so much. Hybrids have a huge advantage, but customers will go for where there are benefits, and electric is what governments are backing. Of course, we have hybrids and we will keep offering it, but this will be driven by what the market demands. Our goal is to have a wide range of models and then together with the customer select one that is for him or her, the best car.