The German automaker wants to revamp the entire dealer experience.
Porsche is working towards greater electrification throughout its range and is currently developing an electric version of the Macan. The luxury automaker wants to make its cars unique in every way, including how these EVs sound, but while the automaker is well-known for innovating on the racetrack, the brand is now looking to draw inspiration from other big brands. This is evidenced by a new report from Automotive News that says Porsche is looking to make its traditional dealerships into fancier, more upmarket boutique spaces that could better target newbies to the brand. But is this the right call?
Porsche already has studios in Italy and China, among other places, and the US will soon join the list with a new retail space set to open in Portland, Oregon, early in 2022. According to Porsche Cars North America CEO Kjell Gruner, these new locations are set to function more like an Apple Store and will be staffed with Porsche product specialists who would not apply any sales pressure to those who walk in the door. Essentially, Porsche wants its dealer experience to feel like a luxury outing rather than a trip to a place typically associated with grease and grime, but this method of attracting customers is not universally loved.
Some Porsche dealers have raised concerns about this route that could dilute the brand by chasing a younger audience. Of course, franchises are still able to make their own choices about how they wish to go about things as has been evidenced by various brands that have approached dealers to ask if they would be interested in retooling their showrooms and service departments for EVs. But while the decision often rests with the franchise owner, a sort of peer pressure along with the worry that the head office would give a nonparticipating dealer less than stellar service could force dealers to change the way they lure customers in.
With electric vehicles like the Porsche Taycan requiring minimal maintenance, the dealers are already set to lose out on the money that their service departments currently generate. Making these dealers invest in an unproven model (many have tried to copy Apple's style and failed) could be seen as a waste of money, but time will tell what the right option is.