Lengthy delays getting 2018 models certified have hurt Porsche's U.S. sales the past two months, but many of the affected vehicles have now cleared the hurdles and are getting to customers.
The delays were spread across the brand's lineup, hitting the Macan compact crossover most acutely in terms of lost volume. Porsche sales dropped 9.1 percent in August, breaking a 12-month streak of monthly sales increases for the brand.
Macan sales plunged 29 percent in August to 1,641 vehicles. The Macan is Porsche's highest-volume vehicle, accounting for more than a third of the brand's U.S. sales.
"These results reflect delays in our delivery of 2018 model year vehicles, many of which are still in the final regulatory approval process," Porsche Cars North America said in a statement announcing August sales. "Porsche is working diligently to obtain all required approvals as soon as possible."
A Porsche spokesman declined to elaborate on that statement or say when all 2018 certifications are expected. Porsche dealt with certification delays on some 2017 models, too. A longer certification process has been a reality for many automakers in the wake of Volkswagen's diesel cheating scandal.
According to Porsche dealers and customers awaiting deliveries of 2018 model orders, the delays involved certifications from both the EPA and the California Air Resources Board. Porsche told customers that delays were expected to range from four to 12 weeks. An undisclosed number of vehicles were stuck in various U.S. ports awaiting certification.
The problem arose with Porsche's sports car models in July, when 911 sales plunged 27 percent, Cayman sales tumbled 58 percent and Boxster sales fell 51 percent. The brand's overall sales rose 0.6 percent in July, lagging Porsche's year-to-date increase. Certifications of the sports cars were cleared in August, and their sales subsequently jumped — up 36 percent last month for the 911, 54 percent for the Cayman and 12 percent for the Boxster.
Certifications for the Macan and other models are now coming in. According to CARB's website, a certification order for the base Macan was issued on Aug. 17. The Macan S and GTS and Cayenne S and GTS cleared certification on Sept. 1.
Jeff LaPlant, general manager of Porsche South Bay in Hawthorne, Calif., said his dealership started getting 2018 Macan shipments on Aug. 30, but no sales were recorded until September.
Roger Jobs, who owns a Porsche store in Bellingham, Wash., another state subject to CARB, said he expected 2018 base Macans that had been held in a California port to arrive by this week. They're already sold to customers. He said he expected other Macan variants to arrive in late September or early October, along with 2018 Cayennes and Panameras.
Jobs' store hadn't sold all of its 2017 Macans but was down to just a few left.
"So it will be a nice transition to the '18s," Jobs said. "It kind of stretched us a bit, but it also helped clean [the inventory] up."
"Certification delays tie up Porsches" was originally published at Automotive News on 9/12/17.