Although U.S. auto sales are up 17 percent through April compared with 2009 auto sales, Porsche's U.S. sales have grown only 3 percent. But Detlev von Platen, the CEO of Porsche Cars North America, expects sales to pick up when the redesigned Cayenne SUV and the V-6 version of the Panamera sedan go on sale this summer.
Porsche faces other challenges in the longer term, such as how to meet its federal fuel economy target of 41 mpg by the 2016 model year. That requirement may force the German automaker to develop new small and fuel-efficient models, a possibility now that the company is merging with Volkswagen AG. Von Platen says discussions are under way with VW about possible platform and technology sharing.
The 46-year-old native of Germany took over at Porsche Cars North America in April 2008. Previously he ran Porsche France for 10 years. Von Platen was interviewed in late April by Automotive News Staff Reporter Diana T. Kurylko.
Q: Why has your sales increase so far this year lagged behind the rest of the industry?
Von Platen: We are seeing the first signs of market recovery in the United States. The market was up 16 percent for the first three months, but we cannot see the same recovery rate in the segments where we are--especially the luxury sports-car and SUV segments. … Read more