HUZHOU, Zhejiang – Owners of the Porsche Panamera in China have an average age of only 36 years old and females account for 30 percent of the ownership, according to Dr. Stefan Utsch, global marketing and sales head of the Porsche Panamera line.
Dr. Utsch spoke to CBU/CAR in an interview on the sidelines of the media test drive of the All New Panamera held here on June 15.
“Which is really a big difference if we compare with the U.S. or European markets,” said Dr. Utsch. “In Europe and the U.S. the average age is between 52 and 54 and we have a higher proportion of male buyers.”
China is already the largest market for the Panamera, accounting for 30 percent of global sales of the four-door sports sedan.
To better cater to the Chinese market and to meet local requirements with attractive price points, Porsche is offering a total of 13 different variants of the new Panamera, including a China-exclusive Panamera Executive version with two-wheel drive. In all other markets, the Executive edition starts with the four-wheel drive as a base version which is more expensive.
Porsche has also used unique marketing tactics to attract Chinese customers, such as product placements in popular TV shows, according to Dr. Utsch.
“Really early in the launch phase, Porsche China asked to get two cars for product placement in Ode of Joy 2 (a popular TV series) and I heard it was a really successful product placement,” said Dr. Utsch. “Many people who know that it was a Panamera went to the Porsche Center and wanted to have exactly the interior color combination of the car that Andy (one of the main characters in the TV series) had.
Another approach is a communications strategy with short TV trailers using successful Chinese personalities reflecting the overall motto of the launch campaign – Courage Changes Everything.
“Our aim is to fulfill every wish a customer might have within the luxury saloon/sedan segment with the Porsche Panamera,” said Dr. Utsch. “For the typical Chinese customer I would assume would take the Executive version because it offers 150 mm more leg room and in China it is at least for the Panamera true from time to time the person who decides what kind of car is bought sits back in the end of the car. The Executive version has the opportunity to offer a lot of space in the back and exclusive amenities and options and at the same in the driver’s seat you still have the best in class performance car.”
Dr. Utsch indicated that from customer reviews and feedbacks, Panamera owners drive much more themselves compared to competitors such as the S-Class or 7 Series.
Currently Panamera sales in China rank third behind the Macan and Cayenne SUVs and Dr. Utsch is very happy with the order intakes so far for the new Panamera, which are far above what Porsche has expected. “We are really overwhelmed of the positive feedback we have received,” said Dr. Utsch.
In some ways, the Panamera was developed with China in mind where customers like four-door sedans more than two-door coupes. In fact the Panamera had its global premiere in 2009 in Shanghai and had its extended wheelbase version launched at the 2013 Shanghai Auto Show.
“China is the biggest and most important market for Panamera,” said Dr. Utsch. “We want to offer more China specific rear wheel drive versions. We know that in China the base engine due to the consumption tax based on engine displacement is most important.”
The Panamera Executive with base engine and two-wheel drive, for example, was developed from the beginning to meet requirements for the Chinese market.