The Porsche Mission E concept electric Porsche AG

Porsche Adding 1,400 Jobs for New Electric to Battle Tesla

The global talent war continues as Porsche more formally enters the electric car fray and takes aim at its battery-powered cars being on the road by 2019.

Porsche will add more than 1,400 new jobs as it revs up development of its first all-electric sports car to challenge Tesla Motors Inc. and plans an initial annual production volume of more than 15,000 vehicles per year.

Some 900 positions will be created in production, 300 in development and 200 in administration for the project dubbed “J1,” personnel chief Andreas Haffner said Tuesday at a press briefing in the brand’s hometown of Stuttgart, Germany.

Porsche, a luxury division of  Volkswagen AG, is also seeking about 100 information-technology specialists, 50 digital experts and more apprentices, part of an industrywide hiring push as carmakers try to compete with the likes of Google and Apple Inc. in connected-car technology.

“One can, in fact, describe what is going on now as a ‘war for talent,’” Haffner said.

Porsche has doubled its global workforce to 26,200 employees since 2010 to keep up with booming demand for its Cayenne and Macan sport utility vehicles. Porsche is spending about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to introduce its first battery-powered sports car in 2019, a cornerstone of Volkswagen’s broader push to move beyond its emissions-cheating crisis by offering more low- and zero-emission vehicles.

Based on the low-slung Mission E concept shown at the Frankfurt auto show last September, the electric car will be produced at a new facility near the storied factory in Stuttgart’s Zuffenhausen district where Porsche makes the 911 sports car.

Porsche’s labor unions favor crosstown neighbor Robert Bosch GmbH to supply the battery technology for the sports car, works council chief and supervisory board member Uwe Hueck said at the briefing. “I’m stubborn,” he said, adding that a final decision must be made soon to avoid delays.

The division has also been weighing a bid from Panasonic Corp. to provide the long-range battery for the car, people familiar with the matter said in March.

Final assembly of the battery systems will be done in-house at one of the new production facilities in Zuffenhausen and parts manufacturing for the new car will be flexible to offset swings in demand between electric vehicles and traditional combustion motors, Hueck said. In April, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said Europe’s largest automaker is looking into starting its own battery production as part of the broader strategy overhaul through 2025.

Hueck said Porsche needs about 10,000 annual vehicle sales for a model to be profitable and as soon as 20,000 deliveries per year are reached, “it starts to be fun” in terms of returns reaped.

“When we started the Cayenne and Panamera, we also signed off on the projects with estimated production volumes of 20,000 cars” annually, he said. The Cayenne turned out to beat estimates significantly.

Porsche’s best-selling model last year was the new Macan compact SUV, at 80,216 deliveries, followed by the Cayenne with 73,118 vehicles. Porsche sold 17,207 Panamera coupes in 2015 and is rolling out a revamped version this year.

By Christoph Rauwald

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