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The Macan (shown here as a sketch) is forecast to quickly become Porsche's best-selling model.
Porsche's goal of surpassing annual vehicle sales of 200,000 will be reached up to four years ahead of schedule and the brand will become even more profitable now that it's part of the Volkswagen Group, analysts predict.
The key reason for both is the arrival next year of the Macan compact premium SUV. IHS Automotive predicts Porsche will sell 63,000 Macans in 2014. "We are forecasting that the Macan will become Porsche's best-selling model," Tim Urquart, senior analyst at IHS Automotive, said.
Last year Porsche sold 143,096 cars. With the forecast additional Macan volume in 2014, the brand's sales would easily top 200,000, a level it has said it aims to reach by 2018. Macan production starts in December.
The 200,000-unit target is Porsche's contribution to parent VW Group's Strategy 2018 plan. VW Group's ultimate goal is for combined global sales of 10 million vehicles by 2018 for all its brands.
Porsche sales and marketing boss Bernhard Maier said IHS's first-year sales prediction for the Macan is too high. "We will not offer that many in 2014 as we will still be ramping up production and introducing models top down," he told Automotive News Europe.
That means lower-priced Macans won't be available at launch. The Macan is likely to overtake the brand's current best-seller, the more expensive and larger Cayenne SUV, which accounted for a little more than half of Porsche's global sales last year.
Media reports say the Macan's likely starting price in Germany will be 45,000 euros, making it Porsche's lowest-priced model, dipping under the 49,243-euro base price for the Boxster two-seat sports car. The Cayenne starts at 59,358 euros in Germany. Porsche plans to unveil the Macan at the Los Angeles auto show in November.
Porsche's operating profit was 1.3 billion euros on sales of 78,000 vehicles in the first half. By contrast, VW's core brand reported a profit of 1.5 billion euros on vehicle sales of 2.4 million. Audi's profit was 2.6 billion euros on sales of 692,000 units.
The Macan will improve Porsche's profits, IHS predicts. "This vehicle is set to be a hugely profitable model," Urquhart said. "Extensive commonality with the Audi Q5 means that Porsche will save on purchasing and r&d and yet they will be able to charge much higher sticker prices for the vehicle."
He said Porsche can charge between 10 percent and 20 percent more than other VW Group SUVs.
Maier said higher volumes will not dilute Porsche exclusivity. "Porsche's global market share will not change greatly because global demand for individual mobility is increasing. It will stay at around 0.2 percent."
Porsche will not set a new target if sales pass 200,000 before 2018. "That number is merely the result of Strategy 2018 that includes new products, new markets and new customers," Maier said. Porsche also will not purposely limit sales. "We will stick to our business model to find the sweet spot: offering one car less than the market can absorb."
Porsche has fully recovered from financial troubles in the mid-1990s. Annual revenue grew from 1 billion euros in its 1994-1995 financial year to 13.9 billion euros last year.