Exec: Porsche seeks better ‘connected car’ technology

Steve Matthews
Bloomberg News

Porsche is working to develop a more “connected car” that better integrates mobile technology into vehicles without distracting drivers, an executive of the luxury-auto maker’s North American unit said.

Connected cars are a “huge emphasis,” Joe Lawrence, chief operating officer of Porsche Cars North America, said Wednesday. “Recognizing the phone is so ubiquitous in every sector, how do we integrate that into driving experience in a way that is safe and enjoyable?”

Automakers can benefit by working with technology developers such as Google Inc. and Apple Inc., and “I think all manufacturers are talking to” those two companies, he said. Connected-car technologies were the problems most often reported by owners in a J.P. Power vehicle reliability study released last month.

Porsche, a Stuttgart, Germany-based unit of Volkswagen AG, said on March 13 that it may further expand its lineup with a battery-powered model. Porsche plans to sell more than 200,000 autos for the first time this year, driven by demand for the $49,900 Macan compact sport utility vehicle it began selling in April 2014.

“We will see further electrification of our product line,” Lawrence said.

The expansion comes as most luxury-car makers are enjoying strong demand, with Porsche, its sister brands Audi and Bentley, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW AG reporting sales records last year.