Dortmund As a thank you for the new Porsche Center at Dortmund Airport, the municipality gives you the right street name for it: As if it were a matter of course, the dealership is on Carrera Street, which is also new. It is a clear reference to the 911, the most important and best-known model of the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer. The massive but also transparent new building cost 19 million euros – an important investment in the Dortmund suburbs.
The new distribution center at Dortmund Airport is the beginning of a realignment in this area. Step by step, Porsche intends to convert more than 900 dealerships around the world to the new “Destination Porsche” sales concept over the next ten years. After a pilot operation in Palm Springs, California was initially well received by customers, the Stuttgart-based Volkswagen subsidiary decided to spread the concept around the world.
“The focus is on people, the Porsche Center will become a space of communication and inspiration,” said Sales Director Detlev von Platen at the opening of the sales and workshop center in the Ruhr metropolis. The sports car manufacturer wants to address new customer groups with a transparent and open-minded architectural concept.
There should be no inhibitions if a potential customer wants to enter a Porsche factory today, continues von Platen. That is why the entrance area of the new location is already generous, allowing a panoramic view of the entire building right through to the workshops. The Dortmund Porsche branch is owned by the medium-sized Hülpert auto trading group, which owns a number of workshops and dealerships in the eastern Ruhr area.
Eight out of ten Porsche customers in Germany are men, the average age is well over 50 – from the point of view of the people of Stuttgart that should change. In other countries, such as China, the brand was able to attract additional customer groups much earlier. “With the new Porsche Center, we want to address younger people and women,” announced von Platen.
The Porsche brand should also adapt in other areas. “Just don’t be arrogant,” emphasized the sales director. “It’s about being personable.” Meanwhile, there is still something elitist about Porsche. Although the Stuttgart-based company does not want to become a volume manufacturer based on the model of the parent company Volkswagen, the customer base should be a bit broader in the future. But: “There won’t be a small city car from Porsche,” said von Platen. Other manufacturers could do better.
Transparency is to be taken literally in the new building. According to the new Porsche concept, there are open workshops, so customers can see immediately how work is being done on their vehicles. “We want to show how our technicians care for the car,” says von Platen.
That creates a closer bond between customers and Porsche. From an in-house perspective, however, there is another important aspect: the workshops stay clean. The employees of the Porsche Center have to pay more attention to cleanliness because the customers can watch them all the time.
The Porsche Center in Dortmund has so far sold around 600 new cars a year. More than 30 cars can now be exhibited in the open showrooms. This makes Dortmund one of the larger sales locations in Germany. The new “Destination Porsche” concept is also to be implemented at smaller locations. The new sales concept was designed in a modular manner and can be varied depending on the size.
Porsche wants to achieve closer communication with its own customers in other ways. This includes a newly created event area. In the future, a Porsche center can be used by other companies for meetings or conferences. During the breaks, participants can view the Porsche on display – and possibly buy them later.
Due to the corona pandemic, this business is subject to a compulsory break. Porsche hopes that this will change in the coming year when the potential danger of the virus subsides after the vaccinations start.
Meanwhile, the importance of electric cars is growing rapidly in everyday Porsche life. Fast-charging stations are being built in the parking lots at Dortmund Airport and all other sales locations. The number of electric models presented in the exhibition rooms will increase. With the Taycan, Porsche is currently offering a first fully electric model, plus a range of plug-in hybrids.
In 2022, the new Macan is expected to be the second fully electric car. For a workshop like the one in Dortmund, this means additional investments: It must be possible to repair both combustion models and new electric vehicles on the lifting platforms. Employees are also trained as high-voltage technicians.
Porsche does not expect the new e-models to completely replace conventional combustion engines in a short time. Even in the workshop business, not everything is likely to change anytime soon, things like the lucrative oil change will remain with the dealers. The fairly high inventory of used cars at Porsche ensures that. On average, the cars have a longer service life than vehicles from most other manufacturers – and accordingly have to take longer to be serviced in the workshop.
The number of newly sold e-models will continue to increase significantly not only at Porsche in the coming year. The Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (VDIK) expects 500,000 to 600,000 e-cars, fully electric models and plug-in hybrids to be sold together in 2021.
“Despite the corona pandemic, the breakthrough in electromobility has been achieved,” said VDIK President Reinhard Zirpel in a press conference on Thursday. How strong the growth is is also shown by the forecasts for current sales: In 2020, 350,000 electric cars are expected to be sold in Germany, which corresponds to an increase of around 200 percent compared to the previous year.
After the turn of the year, Porsche continues to set up new distribution centers based on the Dortmund model. One of the next major projects is the new Stuttgart Porsche Center, which is expected to open in 2022.
More: “We have to remain the world’s innovation leader,” says Porsche boss Oliver Blume.