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Porsche Chairman is 'optimistic' about post-COVID-19 Taycan sales

What are the keys to Porsche's success as the world gets back to business in the second half of 2020? Optimism, says Oliver Blume, chairman of its executive board.

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2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo

Optimism is key.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

With the world changing so rapidly, shifting on an unprecedented scale, it's a difficult time to launch any new product -- never mind something like an expensive new car that playfully harkens back to simpler times. But that's exactly what Porsche is doing with the first of its Heritage Design Editions, a Targa. With the unveiling of that car came an opportunity to speak with Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG Oliver Blume, who remains confident that Porsche will not only weather the current economic storms, but can come out stronger.

How? Basically, by staying the course and sticking with the basics. "The best thing is to have a fundamentally optimistic attitude," Blume said. "We think in chances. We stopped our production over six weeks. We ramped up last week once again,and production is running fairly well."

Blume said that Porsche sales in the first quarter were down approximately five percent, admitting the overall impact on the first half of the year will be "maybe more heavy." However, he said, there are signs of light. "[We're] looking optimistic[ally] towards the future, and the response we are getting from the market. The order intakes are coming up, so it's too early to predict if we will have at the end of the year a 10% effect."

Blume says the expectation is for the overall auto industry to be down 20 percent in 2020. "For Porsche," he said, "we will fight to be a bit better."

However, he won't let that downturn impact innovation: "Clearly our business cases are affected by coronavirus, but only in short term. We did a lot of cost work, but we focused on our product and we won't touch our new product ideas or our cycle plan. So, you can be very clear that we will continue to invest." Blume reaffirmed the company's 15 billion euro investment into electromobility and related technologies.

And how has Porsche's biggest electromobility play, the Taycan, fared through all this? "Very clearly the corona situation also affected our order intake," Blume said. "Our customers, looking to the Europe and US, weren't able to test the car." However, the Taycan remains sold out for all of 2020 and, with its release in China, Blume is again optimistic. "I think it was a perfect start for Porsche to the electric era."