German Automakers Tout Speed and Luxury at Detroit Auto Show
Porsche unveiled its 911 Carrera Cabriolet. The car features a wider wheel base, a 15-percent increase in fuel efficiency and seven-speed manual transmission. Ninety percent of the car's components are new.
The car's list price starts at $93,700 and goes on sale this spring. It can travel from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
"Our customers, they think in terms of value, not in terms of price," says North American CEO Detlev von Platen.
"We have seen a strong, strong year in 2011," von Platen says. "We believe that the momentum we see in 2012 will continue."
He adds that overall Porsche sales gained 14.3 percent in 2011, while those of the Cayenne model jumped 55 percent in 2011.
"Yes the market is improving. We can feel this in our showroom with much more traffic," von Platen says.
Mercedes-Benz debuted its new SL class.
“First of all the SL certainly is a great car for people who are affluent enough to buy such a car. It’s not a volume and market-share maker,” says Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The model is part of Mercedes’ growth strategy in the competitive luxury market. On overcoming BMW in unit sales, Zetsche adds, “This is not our number one priority, to be number one. We will get there over time."
More broadly, Zetsche says he doesn't anticipate any quick fixes in Europe's economy.
"There will be not the one meeting which will solve all the problems. But it's a process," Zetsche says. "Overall, on average the indebtedness of Europe is less than in the U.S., for instance. But we have these great differences between the countries and we have to work on the competitiveness."