|The Porsche Macan S|
In Korea, where Confucianism still lingers and it’s safer to be conservative, sexy cars have yet to catch on in earnest despite a growing demand.
Sales may be picking up, but it’s still rather rare to come across red-hot sports cars on the road since people seem content with buying and parking their goods in the garage, rather than flaunting them.
In this sense, Porsche’s Macan series ― a compact crossover SUV ― seems to be a perfect fit for Korea.
Armed with a rather affordable price and an unmistakable Porsche image, the Macan is poised to attract Korea’s growing number of upscale buyers who are happy to splurge on their cars.
According to Porsche Korea, the Macan Turbo, Macan S and Macan Diesel will be released as early as May this year. The fuel ratings are expected to be read at 11.2-16.4 kilometers per liter, and the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine is equipped with a power output of 340 horsepower. Zeroback is at just 5.4 seconds, and at its fastest, the car can go at 252 kilometers per hour.
Porsche is betting on the Macan to expand its base here.
Last year, Porsche sold around 2,400 vehicles in Korea. This year, it hopes to pull it up by another 200 cars.
“The great thing about the Macan is that it is an affordable Porsche,” said Kim Pil-soo, professor in Daelim University College’s department of automotive engineering. The base price for the Macan will be 57,930 euros ($79,000) in Germany, and the Korean price is not expected to exceed 100 million won ($93,000).
“There is a limited number of people who purchase sports cars. The market is certainly growing at a fast pace but their number isn’t significant,” Kim added.
However, people would jump at the chance to drive a Porsche that is not as expensive and is also a capable SUV, according to the professor.
This is why he saw the Macan as a game changer.
In Korea, Porsche sold around 700 Cayennes, which sold well because the car was viewed by many Gangnam dwellers as both upscale and affordable.
The figures reflect the growing SUV market here.
According to the Korea Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, a total of 293,506 SUVs were sold in Korea last year, up 14.2 percent from 2012, bringing the market share of SUVs to 28.5 percent from the previous 24.4 percent. Given that the entire automobile market has shrunk by 3.5 percent, the incremental growth of the SUV market is remarkable, the association said.
But Porsche also remains upbeat about the sales of its signature sports car, such as the 911 GTB and 918 Spider.
Helmut Broker, vice president of the region’s overseas and emerging markets at Porsche said Porsche sports cars were suitable for Korean urbanites.
“The road conditions of Korea are quite good and I find great potential here,” he said, stressing that Porsches were multipurpose cars that possess both style and practicality.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org)