Porsche plans to rev up Africa sales

Thu Nov 7, 2013 9:29am EST

* S.Africa sales beat Middle East sales

* Centres in Angola, Nigeria, Ghana

By Helen Nyambura-Mwaura

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 7 (Reuters) - Luxury sports car maker Porsche is looking for investors to set up showrooms and service centres across Africa to increase sales on the rapidly growing continent, it said on Thursday.

South Africa is already the luxury marque's biggest market in its 19-country Porsche Middle East & Africa region, beating Dubai, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Qatar, Porsche said.

The Dubai-based regional unit, its fourth-largest subsidiary globally, already has centres in Angola, Nigeria and Ghana, Public Relations Manager Anja Wood told Reuters.

"We have long-term committed customers over there, who buy a Porsche and don't change again from the brand. It's really the fascination with Porsche that works over there in a very good way for us," she said of South Africa.

"We don't expect a second South Africa in the African continent. We are careful with our wishes and future planning, but we want to increase our presence because we want to make cars available to people where we are not yet present."

In the first nine months of this year, Porsche sold 1,800 cars in South Africa, 50 percent more units than a year ago and a fifth of all units delivered by the company in the region.

It sold 8,719 new cars in the region, which includes India and Pakistan, 38 percent more than the previous year.

Stuttgart-based Porsche helped prop up parent Volkswagen nine-month profit after its sales jumped 15 percent.

Slumping auto demand in core European markets, where VW sells almost 40 percent of its models, has caused sales in the debt-stricken region to drop for seven straight quarters.

On the other hand, Africa's ultra-wealthy class is burgeoning as economies flourish and newly found natural resources catapult thousands into the super-rich class, drawing foreign companies to the previously ignored continent.

Africa's top 10 countries ranked by millionaires are expected to have 178,800 dollar millionaires over the next seven years, 37 percent more than in 2012, according to a report by London-based New World Health earlier this year.

Although off a relatively low base, Africa has had growth rates second only to Asia. Many African countries are embarking on projects to improve infrastructure and increase energy production, which are in turn attracting inward investment. (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura, Editing by Patrick Lannin)

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