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Porsche sales up 11% as Red Sea strife threatens deliveries

Porsche Cayenne Dubai sales Reuters
The Porsche Cayenne was the best-selling of the company's models in the Middle East and Africa last year, buoyed by the launch of the updated version of the model last summer
  • UAE and Saudi Arabia drive increase
  • Cayenne best-selling model
  • Best year yet for Taycan EV

Porsche “simply couldn’t find the ships” to get its cars from Germany to customers in the Middle East last year, leaving it with “really low inventory”, the company’s regional CEO told a media sales briefing on Friday.

Those supply chain issues have been resolved, Manfred Braunl told reporters, but he warned that the ongoing crisis in the Red Sea could cause new problems with delivery times for Porsche cars.

“We simply couldn’t find the ships from Germany to come here to all our markets, not only just in the Middle East,” he said.

“It left us with really low inventory and we couldn’t satisfy the demand from our customers the way it should have been done.”

Despite the problems experienced in the first two quarters of 2023, Porsche Middle East recorded an 11 percent rise in sales across the Middle East, Africa and India in 2023, above the 3 percent global average for the company.

Braunl said the volatile situation in the Red Sea, where Houthi rebels based in Yemen have been firing on shipping vessels, could pose “further challenges”.

The International Monetary Fund’s PortWatch platform revealed a 20 percent drop in ships using the Suez Canal route between December 24 and January 2, compared to the same period one year ago.

Some of the biggest operators in the industry, including CMA CGM of France, MSC of Switzerland and A.P. Moller-Maersk of Denmark, have chosen to reroute vessels around the Cape of Good Hope and the tip of Africa, adding an extra 3,000 nautical miles and 10 days to the journey, as well as up to $1 million extra on the fuel bill for each trip between Asia and Northern Europe.

As a result, Braunl said it would “cause some more delays”, although this has not resulted in price increases for the German supercar maker.

Porsche’s regional sales were driven by the UAE and Saudi Arabia markets, with strong growth potential in India.

Braunl said the Cayenne was the best-selling model in the region, buoyed by the launch of the updated “next generation” version of the model last summer, though he did not give specific figures.

It was the strongest year yet for sales of Porsche’s all-electric sports saloon, the Taycan, which were up 80 percent on 2022. The EV model makes up almost 10 percent of the company’s sales.

Porsche has previously revealed plans to electrify its roster of cars so that EVs make up 80 percent of sales by 2030.

Braunl described 2024 as being a “model offensive year”. Among the product launches this year is the Macan EV, the first of Porsche’s legacy nameplates to go electric. There will also be an upgrade of the Taycan.

The Stuttgart-based company launched the new Panamera in Dubai in November, which will be available this year.

On the petrol side, the Porsche 911 will also be given an upgrade.

“With all these new models I think we’re in good shape,” said Braunl.

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