Porsche Adds More Spacious Taycan to Further Challenge Tesla
(Bloomberg) -- Porsche AG unveiled a more spacious version of its electric Taycan model to broaden the car’s appeal and help parent Volkswagen AG catch up with Tesla Inc.
The Taycan Cross Turismo will go on sale this summer with prices in Germany starting at 93,635 euros ($112,708), Porsche said Thursday in a statement. The U.S., U.K., Norway, the Netherlands and Germany are expected to be its five largest markets.
“The future belongs to electric mobility,” Porsche Chief Executive Officer Oliver Blume said. “With the Taycan Cross Turismo, we’re taking another major step in this direction.”
The latest addition to Porsche’s lineup of battery-powered cars was delayed to this year after the Covid-19 outbreak disrupted manufacturing plans. VW group’s most profitable unit delivered more than 20,000 Taycan cars last year, just over 7% of its total sales.
The Cross Turismo, featuring a gently sloping roof with more room for backseat travelers, comes with a 10.9-inch display and optional screen for front passengers. Switching to “gravel mode” lifts the car just over an inch to navigate “light off-road terrain.”
By 2025, half of Porsche’s sales will be electrified, Blume said. Europe has become the fastest-growing region for cars with a plug for the brand, with one in three Porsches sold there partly or fully electric last year. In Norway, the Taycan currently accounts for about 70% of all deliveries.
The Taycan “was the first model from a traditional automaker to raise the tech bar versus Tesla for power and charge time and is uniquely profitable due to its luxury pricing,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Michael Dean said in a note this week. “Its key drawback is a lack of range, with a base Taycan 4 achieving only 244 miles.”
Porsche has argued the Taycan, priced at $185,000 for the top Turbo S version, wasn’t designed for maximum range, but for driving performance that allows repeated acceleration without instantly draining the battery. The Taycan’s success has been a key plank in giving credibility to VW’s push to unseat Tesla as the global electric car leader.
Porsche deliveries dipped just 3% in 2020, thanks to robust demand in China, its largest market. That helped the Stuttgart-based manufacturer maintain a double-digit profit margin when many mass-market automakers suffered a dramatic downturn.
The brand has gotten off to a strong start to the year despite Covid-19 restrictions persisting in some markets, with global deliveries and orders growing by double digits in the first two months, sales chief Detlev von Platen told reporters. If demand holds up, Porsche could cross the threshold of 300,000 vehicle sales this year, though von Platen said reaching this mark would be “irrelevant” as the company isn’t focused on volumes.
The Taycan Cross Turismo is based on dedicated electric-car underpinnings dubbed J1, which is also used by Audi’s e-tron GT sports car. The brands are developing a separate EV platform that will debut next year and serve as the basis for a fully electric version of the best-selling Macan SUV.
Porsche also offers two electric bikes with a design based on the Cross Turismo’s silhouette.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.