As people in China were encouraged to stay indoors and avoid public places like new vehicle showrooms, German premium carmaker Porsche saw its sales plummet during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, China Daily reported.
Jens Puttfarcken, president and CEO of Porsche China, said the outbreak halted the brand’s long-term growth momentum in the country, its largest vehicle market globally, but the company expects the impact to linger on to May.
Its sales in February fell 60% year-on-year, but that was better than the industry’s average of an almost 80% fall year-on-year in the month, Puttfarcken said.
He said Porsche China set up a team soon after the outbreak and had taken a series of measures to help its dealers to tide over the difficult days, including canceling first-quarter assessments and adjusting performance indicators, the report said.
Puttfarcken said sales in March and April will rebound somewhat but will not reach the level of 2019. The market performance will steer back to normal starting from May, he estimated.
Puttfarcken added its sales this year would be difficult to predict, as the novel coronavirus is spreading in the western world as well, and its home country Germany may face the same challenges that China did in the past months, the report said.
He said things are getting better, and around 95% of its dealerships across the country now have normal supplies of spare parts and can offer maintenance and other after-sales services, the reoprt said
Last year, Porsche delivered 86,752 vehicles to Chinese customers, up 8% year-on-year and accounting for 31% of its global total.
China has been Porsche’s largest market for five years in a row.
One of Porsche’s top priorities in China this year is the delivery of the brand’s first electric car, the Taycan, which was launched late last year, the report said.
Customers have shown much interest in the model, and Porsche is expected to introduce two versions of it in the country in April, said Puttfarcken.
David Xiao, chief operating officer of Porsche China, said, “From those who have placed orders, we can tell around half are existing Porsche owners and the other half are new to the brand.”