(Yicai Global) March 19 -- China was the largest sales territory for Porsche AG for the third straight year in 2017, but the luxury carmaker still has no plans to produce vehicles locally.
Sales in the world's largest auto market jumped 10 percent to 71,500 units last year, according to the Stuttgart-based firm's annual report. But Porsche has no plans to localize production or even start such talks, Deputy Chairman Lutz Meschke said at a press briefing for the report's release, quashing speculation the firm would partner Chinese automaker SAIC Motor Corp.
"If a single model sold more than 100,000 units in China, we'd make some plans," he told Yicai Global in an interview, saying that the current sales volume is not enough to warrant a local plant.
Meschke believes the top reasons for keeping production at home are branding and costs. Chinese consumers appreciate German production and prefer luxury vehicles that are made overseas, he said, adding that high capital costs, such as factory construction, make the idea unappealing.
Porsche will set up a digital service company in China to better understand consumer preferences and development trends at local startups, the company added, with Meschke saying that if Chinese companies can make breakthroughs in digital services, Porsche will consider teaming up with them.