Deesch Papke, CEO, Porsche MEA, on the future of the iconic brand

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GMR caught up with Deesch Papke, Chief Executive Officer, Porsche Middle East & Africa FZE, who talks about his vision of Porsche brand, the new models debuting in the region, the future of hybrid cars, and much more.

Porsche debuted four models in the Middle East region at the recent Dubai International Motor show. Is there a specific business strategy behind this move?

As the Middle East’s largest automotive event, Dubai International Motor Show is an integral part of our calendar. It offers a great platform to interact with audiences from across the region, giving them a chance to see, touch and learn what makes a Porsche special. This year, in particular, our premieres demonstrate how the current range of models is the most diverse in the brand’s history.

 

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Taking centre stage at the Porsche stand will be the third generation of the Cayenne, alongside the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series, and the Panamera 4S Sport Turismo. Each model, regardless of segment, possesses true sports car credentials, a direct result of our brand heritage and racing DNA.

This year, in particular, we wanted to highlight the latest advances in vehicles powered by alternative fuels sources – an approach which we refer to as E-Performance. For us, this means combining innovation in electric mobility with the trademark Porsche quality design and sports car performance.

The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is the perfect embodiment of this. The model offers a balance between sporty performance, everyday usability and comfort features. It is now the top-performing Panamera derivative and points towards the future of the range.

Ever since Ferdinand Porsche founded the company in 1931, Porshe has continued to evolve while maintaining at least some element of nostalgia from its history. Looking back, what are the three most strategic steps Porsche has so far taken to leapfrog its competitive peers?

First and foremost, Porsche is a sports cars manufacturer. Whether two-door coupes or four-door saloons, all of our models have one thing in common, they deliver unrivalled performance, which results in exhilarating driving experiences.

You can take any Porsche to the track, push it to the limit and then drive the same car to the mall for your weekly shop.

Our sports cars offer the perfect balance of everyday usability, comfort, and performance – an approach which has been refined over time. With each new model, Porsche always delivers enhancements that ensure its latest offerings are always an improvement on their predecessors.

A key aspect of our performance evolution is motorsports – a fundamental part of the brand’s heritage. With over 30,000 race victories worldwide, Porsche knows how to build successful racing cars.

Using the racetrack as a testing bed, new technologies are developed, tested and refined, with learnings and innovations then taken further and implemented into road models. It’s a process we refer to as technology transfer and it certainly sets Porsche apart from other brands.

At the heart of everything we do, are our customers and enthusiasts. We focus on ensuring that their experience of the brand is second-to-none in all markets, and as such, we invest in training our sales consultants and after-sales technicians on an ongoing basis.

Evolving our customer’s purchase experience is also integral to our success and as a result, we have been working on new exciting new projects in the region that will offer customers a completely new and digitalized experience of our showrooms.

 

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What defines a super-premium car brand – is it looks, power or exclusivity?

Every Porsche offers an abundance of performance, quality design, individualisation possibilities and everyday usability – a combination that I’m sure most people will agree is the complete sports car package.

Case in point is the third generation of our best-selling model in this region, the Cayenne. Set to be showcased at Dubai International Motor Show, the Cayenne Turbo, for example, is driven by a four-litre V8 biturbo engine, delivering 550 hp, 770 Nm torque and a 0-100 km/h acceleration time of just 3.9 seconds.

Inside, driver and passenger(s) experience the Porsche Advanced Cockpit concept, which takes their experience of the journey to a new level, thanks to increased connectivity and intuitive controls.

Like every Porsche produced, customers who purchase this model have the option to further personalise their car through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur – the brand’s in-house workshop responsible for customisation as well as the production of limited-edition sports cars.

Can you please give us a quick run through of the various models debuting in the region in November at the Dubai International Motor Show, and how they differ?

Of the four regional premieres, the highlight will most certainly be the new Cayenne. The drive, chassis, display and control concepts of the new model have been redesigned to further increase the spread between sportiness and comfort, something that becomes apparent as soon as you step inside the vehicle.

Part of the testing phase of the new generation Cayenne took place in Dubai, due to the extreme heat we experience here in summer, and so it was fitting that it will enjoy its Middle Eastern premiere at the Dubai International Motor Show.

Also appearing for the first time in the region will be the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, our flagship and highest performing model in the Panamera range alongside the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series, which offers 607 hp of power, unique design features and an exclusive production run of just 500 units.

Lastly, the Panamera 4S Sport Turismo will offer a new design to the body of the Panamera, offering greater versatility and a unique 4+1 seating concept.

How has 2017 been for the Porsche brand globally as well as in the Middle East, especially GCC, region?

The brand has already seen a clear upwards trend in the first six months of this year with 126,497 vehicles delivered worldwide, exceeding the record figures of the previous year by seven per cent in the first half of 2017.

Porsche has never before delivered so many vehicles in the first six months of a year, and naturally, we’re thrilled with this result.

Across markets of operation in the Middle East and Africa, we are performing in accordance with our set targets, which is encouraging, especially when taking into consideration the constantly changing conditions and serious issues that are unfortunately ongoing in the regions.

 

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How many showrooms do you have around the region and what should your potential customers expect when they visit your showrooms?

We currently have 22 importers operating in 21 countries across the region, which includes Middle East, North Africa, India and Pakistan. There are a total 64 Porsche facilities (showrooms and service centres) spread across our markets of operation, which customers can visit.

Our showrooms are go-to destinations for individuals who want to learn more about and interact with the brand.

We have sales consultants and specialists on hand to help visitors with their enquiries – which can range from booking test drives, to helping them configure their dream Porsche.

What technological advances is Porsche planning to keep its place as a leading luxury motor brand?

We are at the beginning of a new age. The individual mobility requirements of our customers are evolving massively. Electrification, digitalization and connectivity are the three big trends that we are continually advancing.

Digital transformation is one of the main areas we will focus on as we strive to shape the sports cars of the future, and we will use digitalization to enhance our customer and drive experiences even further.

What’s the future of hybrid cars?

Porsche was the first manufacturer in the premium segment to offer hybrid drive systems in three different model lines, including the 918 Spyder a super-sports car that not only set new standards but as a technology champion demonstrated that Porsche’s approach to electric mobility is the right one.

The brand’s current development of hybrid models is centered around utilising the additional power provided by an electric motor to heighten the driving performance and increase efficiency – we call this E-Performance.

In the same manner that we have been leading the development of hybrid models in the luxury segment, Porsche is now also advancing the future of the full electric sports car, with our soon to be launched Mission E concept.

The “Mission E” will be the sportiest and most technologically advanced vehicle in its segment. It will be able to accelerate and brake repeatedly without loss of performance, with a range of over 500 kilometres and a charging time of approximately 15 minutes.

The article appeared in the November 2017 issue of Gulf Marketing Review.

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