Dr. Oliver Blume, chairman of the Porsche executive board, was interviewed recently about the future of Porsche and automobiles in general. He first acknowledged that things are changing faster than at any other time in the company’s history, but emphasized that Porsche cars will always be emotionally exciting vehicles.
“There is no avoiding the fact that customer expectations of our vehicles are changing. Electrification, digitization, connectivity — these are the big three in car building in the new century. In the future, it will depend massively on how we transfer the buying and usage behaviour of our customers to new vehicle generations and nonetheless remain faithful to our principles. What we offer will in part be different. But whatever is labelled Porsche must always be Porsche inside. I call it emotional sportiness.”
Asked about Porsche’s new 4 door electric sports car, the Mission E, Blume had this to say: “The technology of the car is radically new. Yet the philosophy behind it is pure Porsche.” He stated the Mission E will go on sale by 2020.
Blume had good things to say about Tesla Motors. He acknowledged that the California company “has introduced many new facets. It has provided the industry with genuine stimuli. And that deserves respect.” But he also noted that Tesla is not yet profitable and that Porsche is first and foremost a business, not a hobby. “Investment in a new model series at Porsche always has to be a promise of returns as well. Otherwise we prefer to let it be.”
In a subsequent statement, Blume told the press that Porsche now has “many new products in the pipeline. Therefore, it is clear that we can no longer carry out major leaps on results.” The Mission E will require a massive investment, which may suppress Porsche’s profitability in the short term.
Blume said, “You don’t have to be a clairvoyant to predict that the oil price will go up again. The current trend is deceptive. However, the fact is that, without a helping hand, we will not achieve the ideal vision we have in mind: the leap into a new era.” The helping hand he wants most is government assistance to create the charging infrastructure that will be needed before electric cars can go mainstream.
“A sound charging infrastructure is much more important. If we want to achieve the breakthrough for electric cars, it will not be possible without it. It would be nice if industry and politicians worked towards a common aim in order to tackle the challenges. However, that does not mean that we can take it easy. Our innovations are the crucial factor. They are what it all depends on. Market leadership does not come from subsidies but from superior technology. Once we have it, everything comes automatically.”