Porsche may stop selling cars direct to the public altogether in the foreseeable future, according to its finance and IT boss.
In an interview with Autocar, Lutz Meschke said that while the move is still a long way away, there will likely come a time when you can’t simply walk into a dealer and buy a Porsche of your own.
Hinting strongly that he considers the future to be difficult for the current (traditional) sales model, he said:
“Of course, we have to try to keep direct selling [cars] as long as possible, [but] cities want to reduce traffic, therefore we have to look for solutions which fit our brand.
“Today our customers are willing to buy two, three, four Porsches, but in future, maybe they will buy one or two and for mobility in cities, they will use other services. We have to think about business models that can balance these potential losses.
“If 60 per cent of people will live in major cities, then car sales in those cities will be reduced significantly. With our brand, we are limited. It will be a niche and we will not earn enough money to keep the profitability level at 15 per cent, and that’s the problem. “
Meschke explained that the initial response to a changing sales landscape is its subscription service; a wildly expensive way to put a different Porsche on your driveway according to what kind of driving you’re doing on that day, week, month or year. The finance chief calls the initial Asian and European schemes a “good start” but they won’t grow quickly enough to balance the profits Porsche anticipates losing in sales figures over the next decade or two.
Further investments will be ploughed into what it sees as the right – by which it means cash-generating – urban mobility start-ups that also suit the Porsche brand. It will be fascinating to see the exact forms these take.