German luxury car maker Porsche, in which Qatar holds a 10 percent stake, has no plans to follow in the footsteps of rival BMW and launch a branded motorcycle onto the market, according to the Stuttgard-based company’s Middle East managing director.
Online reports claimed the German firm had been working on designs for a two-wheeled Porsche vehicle as far back as the late 1970s.
While Porsche has supplied engines for motorcycles and its Volkswagen stable mate includes Ducati bikes, its Middle East Managing Director George Wills said it had no interest at present in expanding onto the branded motorcycle market.
“We were involved with Harley in the V rod, the Harley Davidson V rod engine is a Porsche engine,” Wills told Arabian Business’ sister publication CEO Middle East.
“We make sports cars - I don’t see us doing anything differently,” he added.
The luxury manufacturer, which has seen booming sales for its updated iconic 911 model, reported a 23 percent increase in earnings in the first nine months of 2012.
Operating profit rose to 1.88 billion euros (US$2.44bn) between January and September, compared with 1.53 billion euros in the same period last year, it said last month.
The Middle East has seen dramatic growth since it entered the region. “We’ve had to establish the brand. Twelve years ago before Porsche Middle East, before the Cayenne came, Porsche’s impact in the region was very small, maybe 20 or 30 cars,” Wills said.
Last year, Porsche Middle East and Africa delivered 7,949 vehicles, an increase of 16.2 percent from 2010.
While its success has been largely due to the Porsche Cayenne, a sport SUV which currently accounts for 60 percent of Porsche sales in the region, its latest model – the US$900,000 Porsche 918 – is also set to see strong demand, Wills believed.
“It takes away all rational thought,” Wills said. “The first thing I thought when I saw it was how can I get one? If I sold everything could I get one?”
Porsche, which along with Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Seat and Skoda, is part of the Volkswagen group is 10 percent owned by the Qatar Investment Authority
The sovereign wealth fund bought the stake in Porsche for US$10bn in September 2009.