Miami-based Porsche Latin America has inked a new, long-term lease for larger headquarters at 200 S. Biscayne Blvd. and plans to add to its ranks on the heels of a rebound from slumping sales during the worldwide economic slowdown.
The South Florida outpost of the German sports car manufacturer opened its doors at the same location in 2000 and today has about 17 employees, said Porsche Latin America CEO Matthias Brück. The year it opened Porsche sold 264 cars in the region.
In 2010 that figure jumped to about 2,500 thanks to a broader offering of cars and the growth of many Latin American economies. Today Porsche is in 25 countries in throughout the working with 17 importers and 40 dealers.
Brück said the company plans to add about four employees to the 80 percent-larger Miami office, mostly in sales.
“It is increasing the number of people here in the office that directly deal in an operational, market development” function, said. Though “we’re not an importer. We don’t buy and we don’t sell.”
For that the company uses in-country importers and distributors. It’s biggest market is Brazil, followed by Mexico and Chile.
“The three of them combined represent approximately two-thirds of our total volume,” Brück noted.
The next country to see a dealer will be Bolivia sometime in the first quarter of 2012.
“If you look at 2000 we were selling the 911 and Boxster, which of course in Latin America are relatively small segments,” Brück said of Porsche’s most recognizable sports coupes. “In 2004 we introduced the Cayenne, and that has had an enormous effect. It is much more suited to Latin America due to road conditions, security and so on.”
The next big jump in sales, he added, came when the second generation of the Cayenne was released in 2007 and 2008 “then the crisis hit.”
It “had an impact but this year we’re expecting a new record,” Brück said.
Meanwhile, Porsche’s main competition comes from other German luxury car manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW, particularly in the sports-utility vehicle market.
“If you take the BMW the 3 Series we don’t worry about it, but the BMW X5 is a competitor we take very seriously,” he pointed out. And “if you look at the top of the 911 segment, we do compete with Ferrari and Lamborghini.”