Porsche unveils plans for Korean unit in 2014Renowned sports car manufacturer Porsche AG of Germany said yesterday it will establish its 17th foreign branch in Korea next year.
Bernhard Maier, who is in charge of sales and marketing for Porsche, made the announcement during a press briefing at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Korea will be the fourth country in Asia to have a Porsche branch after China, Japan and Singapore. Porsche AG said its Korean unit will play an important role in the company’s 2018 business plan to increase sales in Asia.
According to data from the Korea Automobile Importers and Distributors Association, 1,357 Porsches were sold in the first eight months of this year, up 30.7 percent from a year ago. In 2012, 1,516 Porsches were sold, which was a 16.5 percent increase from 2011.
Porsche AG said former GM Korea President Kim Geun-tak will take the wheel of its Korean unit. Kim, 53, was marketing director at Chrysler Korea before serving as the CEO of GM Korea, which is in charge of the Cadillac brand, from 2001 to 2006. GM Korea handles Chevrolet. He then moved to Ssangyong Motor as global marketing executive.
Porsche AG said it expects its Korean unit to work closely with the brand’s existing dealers. Porsches currently are imported and distributed by Stuttgart Sports Cars.
Industry sources said some employees of Stuttgart Sports Cars will join Porsche Korea as they are familiar with the brand and market environment.
Porsche Korea is expected to have about 30 employees.
Porsche has six dealer networks across the nation, with five focusing on the Seoul metropolitan area. It plans to set up dealerships in Daegu, Daejeon and Gwangju.
Porsche sales in Korea are currently driven by its midsize sport utility vehicle Cayenne, which represents nearly 60 percent of sales. The company hopes more Koreans will buy its vehicles when its compact SUV Macan is introduced next year.
BY JOO KYUNG-DON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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