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Porsche stays steadfast amid rise of startups

By LI FUSHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-29 09:11
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Detlev von Platen, a member of the executive board of Porsche for sales and marketing. [Photo/China Daily]

Luxury is not something that comes quickly as it involves credibility, said a senior executive of German sports carmaker Porsche.

"One word for defining luxury is credibility, which means 'are you authentic to what you are saying'. This is not something you can do in a few months," said Detlev von Platen, a member of the executive board of Porsche for sales and marketing.

He said Porsche is "absolutely in its position with credibility" because of its dedication to motorsport over the past 75 years, from the age of internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.

Von Platen made the remarks as a growing number of NEV startups are claiming that they are offering premium or even luxury models.

Some of them, from Li Auto to Xiaomi, are coming up with models that are said to rival Porsche. "Being seen as a benchmark is a confirmation that you are strong, you are desirable, so we are not going to take any protective measures," he said.

Yet von Platen does not see any rivalry. "The battery EV market is more of a volume market. It is not yet there where we are," he said.

He said competition is good for the market, though, adding that Porsche is respectful to the multitude of new players coming in all directions. "They are (like) blank papers, so they are very innovative."

Porsche is showcasing its answers to the age of electrification at the Beijing auto show. The new all-electric Macan SUV is available for pre-sales in China, starting from 728,000 yuan ($100,000). In addition, the new Taycan 4 sedan, tailor-made for the Chinese market, also debuted at the event.

Von Platen said by the middle of the decade, the all-electric 718 will hit the road, which will be followed by the all-electric Cayenne SUV. It also plans to expand its product portfolio with an all-electric SUV — sportily positioned above the Cayenne.

More than 80 percent of its global new deliveries are to be fully electric by 2030 — depending on customer demand and the development of electromobility in individual regions of the world, he said.

China, one of the largest markets for Porsche, is an important engine of innovation for the company. Since its arrival in 2001, Porsche has been expanding its R&D presence in China and has partnered with local IT companies like Tencent, Alibaba and Huawei, said von Platen.

The strengthened R&D aims to provide more localized digital ecosystem services to meet the diverse needs of Chinese customers, who are younger and more tech-savvy than Porsche buyers in other parts of the world.

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