German automaker Porsche will be very busy at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show this month. The company will be in California to make two world premieres and three North American debuts, including the Porsche Macan, a compact sport utility vehicle. The small SUV represents Porsche’s fifth model line, entering one of the fastest growing vehicle segments.
California Market Penetration
Porsche will also debut the 911 Turbo Cabriolet and the 911 Turbo S Cabriolet models. Its other North American debuts are the Porsche Panamera Turbo S and the Porsche Turbo S Executive. The two Panamera models will make their world debuts earlier in the day at the Tokyo Motor Show.
California is an important market for Porsche with the Los Angeles area alone accounting for 17 percent of all the vehicles its sells in the United States. That market penetration has led Porsche to begin building an experience center, what will include when completed a world class test track and handling course. It is also destined to become the new home of Porsche MotorSport North America. The facility and motorsport headquarters will be located in Carson, Calif.
Porsche Macan: Compact Crossover SUV
The Porsche Macan joins the Cayenne as the brand’s second SUV. It is expected to carry a starting price around $40,000, making it the most affordable of all Porsche models. And that affordability has a purpose: Porsche expects that the Macan will become its best-selling model, a volume seller that could help the brand reach 200,000 annual units sold by 2018, up from 141,000 units in 2012, notes the Wall Street Journal. Porsche is owned by Volkswagen AG, a company on a quest to become the largest volume automaker in the world.
The Macan becomes the third non sports car model in the Porsche line. In 2002, Porsche enthusiasts groaned when the Cayenne was introduced and once again expressed their disapproval in 2009 upon the Panamera sedan’s debut. Both models have bolstered the brands sales, but at the cost of exclusivity, what brand devotees prize.
Competition and Platform Underpinnings
The compact luxury SUV segment accounts for more than 200,000 US sales alone with the BMW X3 one of the better selling models. It is the X3 that the Porsche Macan is targeting, a vehicle that topped 35,000 US sales in 2012. Other competitors include the Mercedes-Benz GLK, the Range Rover Evoque, and the Infiniti EX35.
The Porsche Macan is underpinned by the same platform that powers the Audi Q5. It is a crossover SUV, which means that it is of unibody construction, not the truck-like layout of older SUVs.
Two gasoline engines are expected to be offered in the US: a turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder and a supercharged V-6 engine making about 300 horsepower. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is available. We’ll have to wait until its Los Angeles Auto Show debut to learn if AWD will be standard. Likely, we’ll see a diesel model added a year or two out.
Los Angeles Auto Show
The L.A. Auto Show sets off a string of important North American auto shows that run through April. After L.A’s turn, Detroit will hold the North American International Auto Show in Jan. The Chicago Auto Show is held in Feb, and the New York International Auto Show wraps things up in April. Each show will feature the latest 2014 models, 2015 debuts and a host of concept vehicles. Auto Trends plans to serve up details for all the top models as each show is held.
Porsche Macan photo courtesy of Porsche Cars North America, Inc.