The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Porsche zeroes in on making more fans with new Panamera

Head of Porsche’s Panamera product line underscores young Korean customers’ will to see innovation

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : April 7, 2024 - 17:15

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Thomas Friemuth, the head of Porsche’s Panamera product line, speaks to The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul on Tuesday. (Porsche Korea) Thomas Friemuth, the head of Porsche’s Panamera product line, speaks to The Korea Herald in an interview in Seoul on Tuesday. (Porsche Korea)

The chief of the Porche's Panamera line said building a bigger local fandom will be the carmaker's most important goal as the sporty sedan's third-generation was rolled out in Korea.

“The question is not only ‘how do we get the customers to the brand and how do we get them not only as customers and drivers of our cars' (but also) 'How do we get them as fans of the brand?’” said Thomas Friemuth, the head of Porsche’s Panamera product line at the German automaker’s headquarters, in an interview with The Korea Herald on the sidelines of the launch event for the new Panamera held in Seoul on Tuesday.

“It’s because this is sustainable over the next (several) years and decades, which is much more important to us than just a number next year.”

Porsche sold 1,818 units of the Panamera in Korea last year, making it the third-largest market for the car. Sales of the Panamera have grown steadily here, with 1,317 units sold in 2022 and 1,280 units sold in 2021.

Friemuth pointed out that people in the Korean market are very much enthusiastic about cars like in some areas of North America and Australia.

“The special thing for me here in Korea is that all ladies and gentlemen are technology-driven,” he said.

“They’re a little bit younger. They want to see innovation. They want to move forward. They want to see what is happening next. This is driving the community, culture and us. We want to do (something) similar to Porsche. We want to be (an innovative) driver in what is important for a sports car.”

The new Panamera (Porsche Korea) The new Panamera (Porsche Korea)

The Porsche executive highlighted that the new Panamera can deliver luxury experiences for customers because it can meet all kinds of needs, mentioning that it is a perfect fit for someone who needs a car for driving on a narrow mountain road at a fast speed one day and taking family members to a weekend trip with a comfortable riding experience the next.

Porsche recently debuted a battery powered version of its Macan compact SUV, it's second all-electric vehicle. Asked if the same might happen for the Panamera, Friemuth left the possibility open but said the automaker was satisfied with its current lineup of vehicles.

“Down the road, there will be a plan (for a fully electric Panamera),” he said.

“But we are in a good position now that we have a new Panamera with a new drive train. Everything is new in terms of combustion engine and plug-in hybrid so we don’t need to decide today, tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow on what the next Panamera will be.”

The new sporty saloon is offered in two trims in the Korean market: the new Panamera 4 and Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid. According to Porsche Korea, customer delivery of the former will start in May while the latter will begin to be delivered in the second of this year.