The Chinese seem to be especially turned on by the monster Cayenne SUV, which accounted for nearly half of its 11,712 sales. The ‘chauffeur factor’ is part of the reason for this surge, as the super wealthy in China rely on being chauffeur driven and Porsche’s four door Panamera sedan and its Cayenne SUV model are far more appropriate than its smaller speedier models like the 9/11 and the Boxster.
Industry specialists say that Porsche has become especially canny in courting far-east punters, who resemble Americans in the 1970s in their desire to show off. For example, expect to find a Porsche in China to be decked out with more glitzy, ornate accessories and faux chrome. Little efforts this, perhaps explain why China has become the No. 2 market for Porsche worldwide.
Jebsen Motors, Porsche’s largest distributor in China, announced this week that it would open a second dealership in Shanghai to cope with the popular demand.
And although one can compete with Porsche’s near 20% profit margins, other German carmakers – including Audi, BMW and Mercedes – have also benefited from the China factor. Even oh-so British Aston Martin declared its desire to crack the Chinese car market, after indicating that a future stock market flotation of the company could be in Hong Kong. And it was reported that Lamborghini sales tripled in China to 247 cars last year.
The Chinese say that car ownership is part of the third consumer revolution – first it was bicycles and then electronic goods in the 90s and now it is cars – propelled by the changing lifestyles of young people.
Unsurprisingly, this surge of car ownership has led to growing concerns about the air pollution and an increase in traffic congestion. Car manufactures need to be wary that bureaucratic Beijing will try harder to restrict new vehicle registrations, but there seems to be no slow down in the demand for cars – especially big cars – by the nation obsessed with motors.