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Porsche will end spiffs; under VW, it's 'business as normal'

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Porsche will end spiffs; under VW, it's 'business as normal'

Diana T. Kurylko

Automotive News -- February 22, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

ORLANDO -- Porsche Cars North America says it has slashed its inventories in half in the past few months to about 45 days and expects to end incentive spending by the end of March.

"We were oversupplied across the board, and those inventory levels are pretty balanced again," said COO Michael Bartsch at the make meeting here. "We operated with up to 90 to 100 days supply at the peak last year and we ran aggressive lease rates. That was very unusual for us."

Porsche is offering lower lease rates on the Cayenne SUV and Boxster sports car.

"It is a core part of our brand values to have no incentives," Bartsch said.

Dealers urged Porsche to end the lease incentives because funds were diverted from marketing to pay for them, said Jerry Nelson, owner of Schneider+Nelson Porsche in West Long Branch, N.J.

"The incentives helped us turn the corner," Nelson said. "We were in dire straits with inventory last year, and Porsche helped us out with incentives."

Porsche sales were up 8 percent in January, but dealers were told it's difficult to predict the rest of the year. "February has been so hard because everything was just shut down by snow. We really don't know what will happen," Bartsch said.

Porsche sales are led by the Panamera, its four-door sedan launched in October.

A V-6 Panamera is due in mid-June. The cheaper model should give Panamera sales a significant boost. Porsche said last week the V-6 Panamera will start at $75,375 compared with $90,775 for the base V-8 Panamera S. Both prices include destination charges.

Dealers queried Porsche about the acquisition of the brand by Volkswagen AG and how that will affect Porsche Cars North America. Bartsch said that from an operational level "it is completely business as normal." He added, "Everyone is pretty relaxed about it."


• Porsche will end incentives in March.

• Panamera V-6 is due in June.

• VW acquisition of Porsche will have little effect on dealers.

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