Porsche Canada expects Cayenne plug-in hybrid to be vehicle’s volume seller

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Porsche Cars Canada projects the the plug-in hybrid version of its recently launched third-generation Cayenne SUV will be the vehicle’s volume seller — ahead of both the entry-level trim and the mid-level S trim.

“We’ve seen with the latest Panamera a significant shift away from the entry-level trim and into the plug-in hybrid,” Jonathan Thomson, manager of product management and planning for Porsche Cars Canada, told Automobile News | tomobile.org Canada. “We would forecast that the plug-in hybrid will be our No. 1 volume car next year within the Panamera model range, and to think that trend won’t extend to SUV I think is silly. So, we would forecast a very healthy share of sales for the forthcoming plug-in hybrid.”

The Cayenne plug-in hybrid, powered by the same 14.1-kilowatt battery pack and 3.0-litre single-turbo V6 combination that drives the Panamera version, will start at $92,950 (including a $1,250 destination charge) and is scheduled to arrive in Canada in the third quarter of 2019. 

Meanwhile, the introductory gas-powered Cayenne models will begin arriving in dealerships this summer. The entry model starts at $76,750 and is fitted with a 3.0-litre turbo V6 with 335 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. In the Cayenne S, a 2.9-litre six-cylinder hot-V engine — meaning that the twin turbochargers are positioned between the cylinders — delivers 434 hp and 406 lb-ft for an MSRP of $93,850. The Cayenne Turbo, which also has a twin-turbo hot-V, bumps up to 4.0 litres and eight cylinders good for 541 hp and 568 lb-ft and starts at $140,950.

The Canadian arm of the premium brand has successfully won over its German parent company by making the case that Canadians want their features sold in packages, a fact that has made it the envy of Porsche subsidiaries around the world.

“They don’t have that anywhere else in the world other than the U.S.,” Thomson said. “We basically made a case years ago for how that is how vehicles are transacted in Canada. You have trim levels and you have a package structure and you have very few standalone options.

“You have to spec floor mats in Germany optionally and pay for them. So, the base price is cheaper, but you get far less. I think we even already probably get some attention for having a lower spec than some of our competitors, so to go to down to that level just wouldn’t be accepted by the market.

“The rest of the world is quite envious of the fact that we get these packages and they offer added discounts. That helps us sell cars, for sure.”

A key example of this is the new Cayenne, which will have a full suite of standard cold-weather features in Canada — including heated front seats with a memory function and steering wheel with multifunction, floor mats, and heated exterior mirrors — in direct opposition to those built for the United States.

“We make typically between three and four deviations on standard equipment (versus the U.S.),” Thomson said. “We could make more. It’s just that we tend to be in line with the U.S. on most things.

“We have summer tires standard across the entire lineup because we feel like the brand is best represented with performance rubber [and] most people switch to tires over to winters anyway and have a winter wheel set here, where they don’t in the U.S. They often increase the wheel size, where we keep the wheel size the same because it’s a little bit easier with winter tire swapping.”

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