Porsche Planning to Set New U.S. Sales Record in 2019

North American CEO says tariffs would kill record run.

by on Apr.18, 2019

Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said the company expects to set a new U.S. sales record this year, but a tariff would cut sales 20%.

Porsche has set its sights on setting another sales record this year as it rolls out a product plan that embraces electrification and keeps close with the brand’s proud heritage.

Klaus Zellmer, president and chief executive officer, Porsche North America, noted during a press briefing at the New York International Auto Show, that Porsche has chalked up a long string of annual sales records in North America and expects to set another record in 2019 by selling more than 50,000 vehicles.

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Zellmer, however, also said the threat of tariffs hangs over the ambitious goal. A 25% tariff on imported vehicles, which the Trump administration is considering, could reduce Porsche sales in the U.S. by as much as 20%.

Porsche also will be expanding its new fledgling subscriptions service beyond the pilot program in the company’s home base in Atlanta to four other cities in the U.S.

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Porsche's new Heritage Design products allow the new Speedster to add graphics that recall the car's predecessor.

Zellmer also said Porsche will continue to rely on its rich heritage as well as its electrification efforts to appeals to customers. Porsche plans to unveil the Taycan at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September and it will be on sale in the U.S. by the end of the year.

At the same, Porsche is mindful of its history. “Our future at Porsche will always be built on connecting people with our past with modern technology,” Zellmer said during the Porsche press conference at the show.

During the press conference, Porsche displayed a “Design Heritage Package,” for the 2019 Speedster, which features historic racing numerals and colors as well as a short windshield and manual soft top. Only 1,948 of unique vehicles will be offered for sale.

The Speedster itself is the first model developed by the Porsche Motorsport department. The two streamliners atop the rear decklid made from carbon fiber are another design highlight rooted in the model’s history.

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The two streamliners atop the rear decklid made from carbon fiber are another design highlight rooted in the model’s history.

The interior of the 911 Speedster is characterized by a focus on the essentials of driving. Lightweight door panels with storage nets and door pulls emphasize the dedication to weight reduction. Underscoring its purist focus, extensive measures of lightweight construction help keep the weight of the new 911 Speedster down.

The front luggage compartment lid, front fenders and rear decklid are all made from carbon fiber composite material, while the front and rear fasciae consist of lightweight polyurethane. Standard Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes save about 50% from the system weight with grey cast iron rotors. The fabric top does without any automated operation, save for the electrically operated latch to lock and unlock it.

Air conditioning is omitted as standard in the interest of weight savings, but can be added as a no-cost option if the customer desires.

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The six-speed manual transmission saves about 9 pounds compared to the seven-speed manual transmission in other 911 Carrera models, and almost 40 pounds compared to a PDK dual clutch unit. With this clear focus on lightweight construction, the 2019 911 Speedster weighs just 3,230 pounds.

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