|Porsche Macan muscles into SUV track
Massive or small, affordable or off-the scale pricey: urban sports utility vehicles abound at the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland.
One of the stars of the show is Porsche's new Macan (Pictured).
Head of Porsche sales and marketing Bernhard Maier told AFP, that demand in Germany meant deliveries would take about six months.
With 340 horses under its clamshell bonnet for the S version, the compact SUV will hit European showrooms next month, selling for 60,000 euros.
As it moves into this new segment, the maker of the iconic 911 is broadening its range and appears to be on a steady course towards the 200,000 car sales a year mark.
Porsche is set to push out 50,000 Macans from its Leipzig, Germany, factory, and is making it pricier than the basic versions of its competitors Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes' GLK.
“The example of Porsche shows that there is also a demand for a new type of car within the luxury segment,'' German car industry analyst Stefan Bratzel told AFP.
A number of other luxury carmakers meanwhile are set to follow Porsche's lead.
German-owned British brand Bentley says it will launch an ultra-powerful SUV in two years, in a bid to reach its target of doubling its sales to 15,000 cars each year by 2018.
Industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer said such a vehicle would likely cost 180,000 euros.
Italy's Lamborghini, which like both Bentley and Porsche, belongs to Volkswagen, unveiled its SUV concept Urus two years ago, but is still waiting for VW to greenlight the project.
“The market potential would in the US, in Middle East, in China and in some European markets,'' Lamborghini chief Stephan Winkelmann told AFP.
And Maserati, which belongs to Italian Fiat, has hinted its Levante luxury crossover SUV might hit the market next year.
Rolls-Royce, owned by Germany's BMW, also says it is looking into building a car in the segment.
Indian-owned Land Rover, which takes credit for inventing the concept of luxury 4x4s decades ago, insists its not worried by the new competitors. Jaguar, which like Land Rover is owned by Indian Tata Motors, also aims to profit from that long experience: Last September it presented its own SUV concept, the C-X17.