2023: Porsche Holding Salzburg achieves a respectable result in a challenging economic environment
- Sales of new cars up 13.0% with 741,290 vehicles globally
- Sales of used cars also positive with 213,922 vehicles (+12.8%)
- Number of employees in 29 countries grows to 36,076 (+3.5%)
- A reduction in the built-up order backlogs masked the restraint in incoming orders in the past automotive year; economic weakness did not stop at the electric market; a rise in discounts and incentives highlight the return from a pull to a push market
- Outlook for the 2024 automotive year: The overall situation remains a challenging one; the first half of the year will still be dominated by an orderly reduction of the order backlog, with the second half of the year characterised by new products and measures aimed at stimulating sales; Porsche Holding intends to expand even further on its good market position and continue on its pathway towards consolidation and transformation
- 240,000 new passenger car registrations in Austria realistic
Salzburg/Vienna, 15 December 2023 - Porsche Holding Salzburg was once again able to build on its robust and broad-based business model in a challenging 2023 automotive year, with strong brands and a highly professional sales organisation. With operations in 29 countries, the automotive distribution company once again achieved a solid result in all areas, despite the first signs of a recession and changes in the overall conditions. Porsche Holding was at the same time able to continue along its chosen path of transformation and to drive its key strategic topics forward, such as e-mobility, digitization, sustainability and being a reliable employer.
"Political and economic crises have kept us in suspense for some time now. We have managed to achieve a solid result in a difficult competitive environment. We were able to capitalise on market momentum in all areas and achieve strong growth compared to 2022, thanks to a rapid reduction in the built-up order backlogs and our exceptional performance as a team. Our experience with volatile and challenging markets has helped us significantly with this," said Dr Hans Peter Schützinger, CEO of the PHS Management Board at the annual press conference in Vienna, summarising the sense of satisfaction.
Key figures of Porsche Holding Salzburg for 2023 (projection):
- Sales of new vehicles in wholesale and retail increased to 741,290 vehicles (+13.0%) thanks to significantly shorter delivery times.
- There was also a positive development in sales of used cars with 213,922 vehicles (+12.8%). The number of dealerships fell slightly to 527 (-4) due to optimisations in the network; the metropolitan strategy was continued.
- The number of employees in the 29 countries grew to 36,076 worldwide (+3.5%), partly by means of new acquisitions in retail.
Special features and challenges of the 2023 automotive year:
- The reduction in the built-up order backlogs masked the restraint in incoming orders with a solid increase in new registrations.
- Noticeable consumer restraint, particularly in the volume and private customer segments.
- Despite inflation and loss of purchasing power, premium and luxury brands remain in vogue worldwide.
- The transformation to BEVs continued; however, the economic downturn also did not stop at the electric market.
- A rise in discounts and incentives highlight the return from a pull to a push market.
- New mobility services such as the sharetoo car sharing service are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in big cities.
"There are two sides to 2023 depending on how you look at it: on the one hand, we saw deceptively high growth in new registrations, increased sales figures for used cars and good earnings in the dealer organisations. At the same time, the pure sales figures in the same period clearly show the reluctance to purchase that has prevailed for months, which will be reflected in new registrations by the middle of next year at the latest," says Dr Hans Peter Schützinger, analysing the 2023 automotive year, while adding the following warning: "With such a mixed situation this year and despite respectable results, we are still a long way away from sustainable recovery in our business."
Austrian passenger vehicle market 1-11/2023
The Austrian passenger vehicle market is benefiting significantly this year from the reduction in the built-up order backlogs. With 220,653 new registrations at the end of November, this is 11.8% above the low result of the previous year, but despite the growth the automotive market is still 28% down on normal levels prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
The all-electric vehicle segment continued to grow for the fifth time in a row in 2023. Almost one in five new registrations this year was a BEV with 43,602 newly registered vehicles (19.8%).
"Depending on the figures for the respective brands at year end, we will probably finish just below the 240,000 mark and end up at almost the exact same level as the 2021 automotive year," says Dr Hans Peter Schützinger, adding: "The reluctance to purchase in the volume and private customer segments prevented a better market result despite good levels of availability for new cars. The potential and demand for replacements are definitely there, but the fear of a prolonged period of recession is causing many people to postpone their current purchasing plans."
The Volkswagen Group brands are once again a key driver of the 2023 automotive market, with 87,295 new registrations and a market share of 39.6%. With an increase in new registrations of 18.2%, the Volkswagen Group brands saw stronger growth than the market as a whole, which recorded an increase of 11.8%.
"We are expecting around 93,000 new passenger car registrations for the Volkswagen Group brands this year. This would mean that we can close the year with a new record market share of around 39% in our end-of-year reporting", says Dr Hans Peter Schützinger.
Volkswagen and ŠKODA once again occupy the top two spots in Austrian brand rankings, with Audi in fourth place as the premium brand, followed by SEAT, which, excluding CUPRA, takes an impressive fifth place ahead of other volume brands. The ŠKODA Octavia (1st), VW Golf (3rd), VW Tiguan (7th), ŠKODA Enyaq (8th), SEAT Ateca (9th) and VW Caddy (10th) are once again six Volkswagen Group models in the top 10 of model rankings, with as many as 14 in the top 20.
The Volkswagen Group brands' excellent market position is also reflected in the 13,836 new all-electric vehicle registrations. Almost one in three new BEVs on Austrian roads is a Volkswagen Group model (31.7%). Volkswagen is in third place of the brand rankings with 4,732 vehicles, followed by ŠKODA (3,405 vehicles), Audi (2,946 vehicles) and CUPRA (2,566 vehicles). The ŠKODA Enyaq, CUPRA Born, VW ID.4 and Audi Q4 took second to fifth place in the model rankings.
Development of drive types (1-11/2023)
The move towards e-mobility has gained significant momentum since 2019. The shift away from the classic combustion engine towards alternative drive systems (BEVs and hybrid vehicles) has accelerated significantly in recent years, and has also been driven by government e-subsidies for companies and private individuals.
The share of the drive mix continued to shift towards alternative drives this year:
Electric: 19.8% (+4.5% points)
Hybrid: 28.4% (+3.3% points)
Diesel: 19.5% (-3% points)
Petrol: 32.4% (-4.7% points)
The rapidly growing range of BEVs has also made a significant contribution towards the rise in the share of electric cars in the drive mix, with consumers in Austria currently able to choose from 45 brands with electric cars (+13 compared to 2022) and 123 models (+48 models compared to 2022).
Optimisation in the dealer network continued in core markets
Porsche Holding Salzburg carried on with the optimisation of its global dealer network in the past automotive year, which it had begun before the pandemic. The main focus was on economically powerful metropolitan areas in the premium and luxury brands. "Blank spots" on the retailer map in the core market of Italy were closed for instance in places such as Bolzano and elsewhere. Five new dealerships were integrated into the sales network in the important growth market of China. Porsche Holding also opened a new used car centre with the Q-Car Used Car Centre in Hangzhou, marking its first entry into the lucrative used car business in China. With 527 dealerships, the number fell slightly on 2022 (-4).
Porsche Bank Group back on track towards growth
The Porsche Bank Group was able to expand even further this year on its leading position as a mobility financial services provider. With 1,650 employees in 15 countries and with operations in the financing, insurance and maintenance agreement business, the subsidiary of Porsche Holding Salzburg had over 2 million contracts in its portfolio at the end of 2023 (+1% growth). Around 46 per cent of all Volkswagen Group vehicles delivered by Porsche Holding Salzburg are financed by the Porsche Bank Group. The consolidated total assets of the Porsche Bank Group as a whole amounts to 8 billion euros.
Porsche Bank is also pleased with its sharetoo car sharing concept in Vienna. Around 43,000 sharetoo car sharing app users are already taking advantage of the ability to flexibly book one of the latest 150 e-vehicles from the Volkswagen Group at one of the 115 dealerships available. The utilisation rate for the sustainable sharetoo car sharing fleet is currently over 28% and rising.
Porsche Informatik continues its strategic expansion
Following the opening of "Digilab Italia" in Verona, Porsche Informatik now has IT locations in five countries (Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia and Romania). With 1,100 software developers and IT specialists, the Porsche Holding subsidiary has provided 1.2 million software development hours and offers a total of 180 customised software solutions for the automotive wholesale and retail sectors as well as for financial services in 34 countries.
Around 30% of Porsche Informatik's developments are already being provided specifically for the Volkswagen Group. The new VU3 sales support programme, which has already been successfully implemented in the first PHS countries, is also due to be rolled out by Volkswagen Group dealers in countries including the UK, Ireland, France and others in the future. The CROSS 3 dealer management system will also be used as a daily working tool by more than 55,000 users in 20 countries.
MOON POWER: expansion on track
As a young brand, MOON POWER continued its course of expansion in the past financial year, more than doubling its revenue to 50 million euros. With more than 50 employees, the Salzburg-based company offers sustainable, intelligent and data-driven energy solutions from one single source in 24 markets. Prestigious MOON projects in Austria in 2023 included the Audi Charging Hub in Sterneckstraße in Salzburg as well as the charging stations at Hotel Stanglwirt in Going and at the Polz vineyard in Styria.
MOONCITY Budaörs, which opened in the Hungarian capital Budapest in September 2023, also generated a great deal of public interest. The newly designed MOONCITY Salzburg will also reopen its doors in January 2024 following several months of renovation, and will include facilities such as a spacious lounge that serves as a waiting area for Salzburg's largest inner-city charging park.
Outlook for the 2024 automotive year: overall situation remains a challenging one
Porsche Holding Salzburg is assuming that global market conditions will remain challenging in 2024 and that economic uncertainty will persist among consumers. The geopolitical situation, current economic conditions, the rise in interest rates and the fall in purchasing power due to inflation will either slow down the market recovery we were beginning to see or will cause it to a stop where it is.
"In the first half of 2024 we will still primarily be occupied with reducing the existing order backlogs. In the second half of the year, on top of numerous new products, we will increasingly see sales-stimulating measures aimed at boosting turnover, particularly to private customers and in the volume segment", says Dr Hans Peter Schützinger: "As Porsche Holding Salzburg, we want to expand on our excellent market position, which we were even able to strengthen in periods of crisis, and continue on our pathway towards consolidation and transformation."
Austrian car market: 240,000 new passenger car registrations realistic
A sustained return of the domestic new car market to pre-coronavirus levels in terms of unit numbers is not to be expected any time soon given the current conditions, as many prospective private buyers are postponing their planned car purchases.
"The market comeback will take a while", says Dr Hans Peter Schützinger: "This is because the prolonged decline in incoming orders will have an impact on new registrations in the coming year, and this will rule out any rapid recovery. Yet we remain optimistic that if the politicians succeed in getting inflation under control, we will be able to achieve a new car market of 240,000 passenger cars."
Both manufacturers and consumers will continue to focus on e-mobility, but the pace at which it gains market share will slow in the coming automotive year, due to the overall economic situation and the limited range of BEVs in the small car segment.