From 2004 to 2010, Porsche sales in China increased over 3750 percent. It’s a statistic that doesn’t seem credible. But over those seven years, Porsche sales have increased from less than 400 automobiles in 2004 to around 15,000 in 2010. The “meteoric growth,” as group director Mark Bishop of Jebsen Motors calls it, has catapulted China to the second-largest Porsche market in the world.
Jebsen Motors, of the Hong-Kong based conglomerate Jebsen Group, is the largest Porsche distributor in the People’s Republic and affiliated areas. Jebsen boasts dealerships in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macau. In 2010, Jebsen’s Shanghai dealership sold over 1,000 units; Jebsen is planning to open a second Shanghai dealership to meet consumer demand.
According to Bishop, the top Porsche models in China are not small sports cars, but larger models like SUVs and sedans. Specifically, the Cayenne and Panamera models make up 80 percent of China’s Porsche sales.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in the sports car too. But I think China has always been a big-car market,” said Bishop.
Bishop attributes the trend toward larger cars to the “chauffeur culture,” as he calls it. And although many Chinese still do use chauffeurs, Bishop says that that tradition is slowly changing.
“We’re seeing more and more people driving themselves. Even those who use it with a driver, we’re now seeing them on the weekends with the family out and the father driving,” Bishop said.
Although the Porsche’s surge in sales is undoubtedly good news, Bishop is cautious about the future. He notes that as China becomes a greater draw for foreign businesses, competition will increase.
“As the dealer network grows, it adds competition,” said Bishop. “The territories that you operate become a bit more confined. But there’s also the element of other competitive brands, particularly the other German stables: BMW, Mercedes, Audi.”
Bishop also recognizes the possibility of economic slowdown or changes in government regulations in China.
“[Government] decisions can be made fast, and we have to work within it,” Bishop said.
photo credit: porsche