Porsche Scaling Back Taycan Production

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

With Porsche planning to eliminate its more affordable combustion models for the sake of fleet-wide electrification, there has been a lot of speculation on how well that will play out for the company in the long run. We already covered the fate of the soon to be discontinued vehicles, so there’s not much reason to recap the entire saga. But there is another data point that needs to be taken into account.

Porsche is scaling back production of the Taycan — which happens to be its flagship EV.

Based on reporting from Germany’s Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Porsche's Zuffenhausen plant in Stuttgart will be moving to a single shift. The alleged reasoning is that demand for the Taycan has started to decline. However, this is fairly common among flagship models that aren’t synonymous with practicality. Automakers usually see a surplus of demand upfront that they struggle to meet, followed by a period of steady sales that declines as the hype of such models wears off.

For the first couple of years, procuring a Taycan inside the United States was borderline impossible. But the company saw 8,747 U.S. deliveries in 2021 and then settled into at least 7,000 units annually. Orders for 2024 have been noticeably leaner vs previous years, leading some to speculate that electrification hasn’t been working for the brand.

Then again, the world also believed the brand attempting to sell an SUV was absolutely ridiculous. However, the Cayenne (and later Macan) ended up becoming the brand’s best sellers and shot its revenue through the roof.

Still, it has to be said that the Taycan saw its own sales pitch up rather dramatically in the final quarter of 2023. That could certainly happen again, making the sales decline the Taycan has endured through the first half of 2024 less severe. While it’s hard to envision a scenario where the model enjoys another period where it manages to outsell the 911 on the global market, it’s certainly possible that demand could improve.

Meanwhile, general interest in the brand’s electrified products have improved. It’s not just clear if that’s the result of Porsche building more desirable EVs than the competition or shifting its whole lineup to better prioritize electrification.

The report claims that putting production on a single shift has everything to do with the Taycan’s dwindling demand. However, it doesn’t put the blame on Porsche so much as the consumers trending away from EVs in most Western countries — noting that the Taycan’s initial demand was indeed impressive.

Translated from Stuttgarter Nachrichten:

Despite being delayed, the lull in the global e-car market is now reaching the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer, which was otherwise able to create a special boom in times of weak markets. However, the Taycan, like most electric vehicles in all segments, is suffering from growing consumer skepticism. Anyone who really wants to own an electric car has already had one. But the new customer groups that are needed to continue sales success are cautious and sometimes even negative about the technology. The issue of range is of minor importance for the model, as the [Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club] even declared it the range king. Porsche is also pushing the limits of what is technically possible when it comes to charging speeds.
The massive Chinese market likewise poses significant problems for German luxury car manufacturers. Their vehicles are almost only in demand there if they are equipped with a combustion engine. That's why the Taycan has had just as much trouble there as the fully electric Mercedes flagship EQS, the counterpart to the S-Class. The two manufacturers expect that the market there will develop and that they will then be able to secure decent market shares — but so far there is not much to be seen. This is probably why Mercedes has announced that it will bring a completely new S-Class with a combustion engine onto the market later this decade.

Considering that German manufacturers see China as their next big market, and trend toward using Chinese battery suppliers (Porsche buys from CATL), this is beyond ironic. At home, they’re pivoting toward EVs to pivot toward a learner workforce and satisfy local regulations. But, according to the aforementioned report, it’s not working out well in China.

Sadly, cross referencing this with regional sales data has been difficult. Many automakers have become extremely lazy in self-reporting their own sales. We used to receive monthly reports. But now quarterly tabulations are about as good as it gets. As of April 2024, BMW reported Chinese sales having declined by 3.8 percent annually. Mercedes likewise said it was down 12 percent, with Porsche an unfortunate 24 percent decline.

However, there are other issues foreign automakers are having to confront in China. The country has restricted the export of auto industry data since 2021, forcing German automakers to set up localized data hubs and limiting how much they can profit off customer data harvesting.

German automakers (particularly Mercedes-Benz and Porsche) have also cited trouble with Asian supply chains and are now facing stiff competition from Chinese EV startups backed by the government after a decade of maturation. Granted, that doesn’t preclude Porsche from doing well in Asia. But it also doesn’t make things easier.

The good news for Porsche is that China has one of the highest take rates of electric vehicles in the entire world. The bad news is that Chinese consumers tend to prefer Chinese brands, with Tesla products still coming ahead of the German marquees. Meanwhile, the United States has shown itself to be more EV hesitant than other developed nations despite massive pressure from the current government to shift the nation toward all-electric vehicles. This puts German automakers, like Porsche, in a tricky position. They effectively have to pivot toward EVs to satisfy European regulations. But the relevant export markets are either heavily saturated with localized competition or less interested in EVs than leadership would have hoped.

[Images: Porsche]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 9 comments
  • Wjtinfwb Wjtinfwb 6 days ago

    Porsche ditching ICE 718 models is a really bad idea. The Boxster and Cayman are the gateway's to Porsche ownership, many Boxster owners will move up to a 911 or add a Cayenne or Macan for a spouse or themselves. EV fans will disagree I'm sure, but the last thing a sports car with limited practicality needs is even more limits on range and charging. It really becomes just a toy at that point. Someday when charging points are as ubiquitous as gas stations and charging times are further reduced, the EVs day may come. Until then, why reduce the size of your potential audience even further by forcing the EV decision on them. They'll just buy a Corvette.

  • FreedMike FreedMike 6 days ago

    Awfully expensive...and if you want an EV supersedan, there's always the Model S for half the price.

  • Akear What an absurd strategy. They are basically giving up after all these years. When a company drinks the EV hemlock failure is just around the corner.
  • Graham The answer to a question that shouldn't have been asked LOL
  • Bill Wade I live in AZ. I don't think you'd find very many LEOs that would pay the slightest attention to kids on e-bikes.
  • SPPPP Where do I sign?
  • Joseph Kissel The panel gaps are intentional because plastic contracts as well as expands ... But in an era of ever-tightening tolerances, it didn't look good. Today it would be hailed as "brave" and a "disruption."