Quick chat with Detlev Von Platen Porsche Board Member for Sales and Marketing
What are your sales expectations of the Cayenne Coupe?
I know this car will be very attractive, because we’ve had a lot of demands (for such a vehicle) from our customers – not only Cayenne owners, but also other Porsche customers around the world. This is perhaps because the Cayenne Coupe carries the Porsche DNA a bit more strongly than our existing SUVs. We expect the Coupe to account for 30 to 35 per cent of total Cayenne sales when it arrives on the market.
Do you expect buyers for the Coupe to be existing Cayenne owners, or conquests from other brands?
Cayenne in general has been a conquest car. This new variant will of course address existing Cayenne customers who want to express a bit more sportiness, but it will also address the very successful SUV-coupe segment, which has now existed for more than 10 years. I think the Coupe is a very credible offering as it sits about 20mm lower and 80mm longer, which makes it look more muscular without losing the elegance of the Cayenne.
Does this open the door to potentially add a Coupe version of the Macan as well?
The Macan is already very coupe-ish, so I don’t think there’s really a need for a Coupe version. As for what will the next-generation Macan generation be like, we of course have some ideas. The plan is for it to be electric only, with the existing Macan continuing in parallel with combustion engines.
What’s your forecast for Porsche on the electrification front?
We believe that by 2025 around 50 per cent of our sales will be accounted for by electrified vehicles – if you count plug-in hybrids and full-electric cars in this figure. Of course, the take-up rate will be different in the various markets, as China might be faster than Europe, while the Middle East might be a bit slower in adopting electric vehicles. I’ve talked to customers in Dubai and they were very keen on this technology but, ultimately, it’s hard to predict exactly how it will pan out.
Quick chat with Michael Mauer Porsche Chief Designer
What was the biggest challenge in adapting the existing Cayenne to fit the SUV-coupe mould?
These types of cars (SUV-coupes) are really challenging from a proportion point of view. An SUV has volume, which goes against having a coupe-like roofline. So, this is the first challenge and the second one comes from having an existing car as a starting point. With the Cayenne Coupe, I wanted to have a dropping roofline (a bit like a 911), yet not lose too much in the way of rear headroom. The way to address this was by lowering the rear seat. The other challenge is an aerodynamic one, as you have a low roof yet need a high edge to optimise the airflow. The way to meet this challenge was with our adaptive spoiler, which extends by 135mm when you hit 90kph.
About a decade or so ago Porsche created the Cayenne Cabriolet Concept. What was the main reason that never became a production reality?
I’m very happy to work in a company where the design department has the freedom to think in each and every direction. We really have the freedom to explore every possible type of derivative or new vehicle genre. In fact, I would dare to say that there is no corner that we haven’t looked into. Those concepts that are assessed as being interesting are then taken to the next step. But then you have to ask: Is it attractive or not? Is it a business case? Does the sales and marketing department believe there is a market for this type of car? At the end of the day, we’re in business to make money, and it eventually comes down to this. There are hundreds of concepts that never see the light of day.
As a designer, how hard is it to switch up from designing 911s to creating an SUV?
If you were my CEO, I would tell you it’s incredibly difficult! (laughs). But if I talk to my friends, I tell them it’s business as usual. The truth is in the middle. We have a well-defined design strategy, and this gives everyone involved orientation whenever we start a new project. There are challenges with designing any vehicle in terms of deadlines, budgets and so forth, but the end result has to be exciting… be it a 911 or Cayenne.