Exclusive Interview

Porsche to Boost Customization

Oliver Blume
Porsche's head of production, Oliver Blume, just had his contract extended.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Porsche is lining up to take more of the mass luxury market with its robust SUV models, while retaining its sports car exclusivity with models like the Spyder Boxster.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Porsche, based in Stuttgart, southern Germany, was founded by Ferdinand Porsche in 1931.
    • It is the most profitable sportscar manufacturer in the world, with 17 billion in revenue, and 16 percent return.
    • It will sell over 200,000 cars for the first time this year and SUVs will account for half those sales.
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  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Porsche production chief Oliver Blume, 47, is a bone-fide VW man, having worked at Audi and Seat before becoming Volkswagen’s central production planner in 2009. He has headed production at Porsche since 2013, overseeing the development of the Macan SUV. He talked with Handelsblatt about Porsche’s place in the Volkswagen family and the importance of the company’s production workers in delivering that exclusive end result.

Handelsblatt: Congratulations, Mr. Blume, your contract was extended for five years.

Oliver Blume: Thank you very much.

The signing came at a turbulent time for your parent company Volkswagen, shortly after the departure of Ferdinand Piëch. Is there a connection?

Nothing should be interpreted from that. One had nothing to do with the other.

The head of production post in the VW Group management board is still unfilled. Do you still need a boss above you?

At Porsche, that’s not an issue for us – we work very well with our colleagues in the group.

And purely theoretically, what does a head of production for the group do?

One important task is the configuration of plants at a group level.

You already did production planning in Wolfsburg.

Now I am here in Stuttgart, I feel very comfortable and have a great team and many projects to manage. Our job is to build the best sports cars and we do that with great enthusiasm.

Porsche wants to win the toughest car race in the world this weekend, the 24 hours of Le Mans, for the first time since 1998. Will you be there?

Yes, to wish our team luck.


Video: Porsche team on the way to Le Mans 2015.

 

The 919 racecars of Le Mans are the closest predecessors of the sinfully expensive 918 Spyder. Now that production of them is ending, what will you do with the 100 specialists who built them?

We are proud that we have sold all of the cars— the exact number is 918 — earlier than expected. We can engage our highly qualified colleagues in diverse ways in the development center.

Your CEO Matthias Müller has indicated that there could be a purely electric sports car. Would that be a project for those who built the 918 cars?

We have many interesting projects in mind, and these specialists will be very important for us – we’ll see what we build.

By when will that be decided?

I don’t want to be specific about that. That is an ongoing process and we need to watch the market very closely. We are well underway with our hybrid vehicles. The 918 Spyder with two additional electric motors was an absolute pioneer in high technology. And naturally we are looking at how things progress with electrification.

How much freedom is there within the group? Could you also push through a fuel-cell vehicle?

First and foremost, the ability to come to an agreement is the advantage of such a large group. If we have an issue that is absolutely criticial for Porsche, then we will discuss that in the group and come to a decision. We do not go it alone. It is the group philosophy to use synergies with a close eye on the autonomy of the brand.

Boxster Spyder NY Show 2015 Bernhard Maier AP
Excecutive board member Bernhard Maier presents Porsche’s new Boxster Spyder at the New York International Autoshow this year. Source: AP
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