Gaudin Porsche from Las Vegas has been part of the Porsche Classic program for three years and maintains older models.
It is a problem for some car brands to let customers drive for years with their old vehicles. For Porsche Cars North America it is a potential new gold mine.
More than 70 percent of all Porsches ever built is still being driven today. But the vast majority of more than 200,000 classic cars in the US – almost twice as much as in Germany – is maintained by independent repair shops. Porsche now hopes to bring part of that business to its dealer network by expanding its Porsche Classic business.
The network has 10 Porsche Classic dealers in the United States, specializing in maintenance and repair of the old cars. The stores can also carry out factory-sanitized restorations, extending Porsche's restoration centers in Atlanta and Stuttgart.
Porsche wants to use more of its 190 American dealers to participate in the program. Porsche Cars North American CEO Klaus Zellmer refused to say how much is needed to adequately serve the growing company.
"What I can tell you is, I think there should be a lot more," said the CEO. "Strategically we have to increase our game because that is a business field where we can still grow."
10 percent annual growth
Despite the low participation, in less than four years, Porsche Classic has become the fastest growing company of the luxury sports car manufacturer in the United States, growing with an annual clip of 10 percent, according to Zellmer.
Stores that specialize
These 10 Porsche Classic dealers specialize in the maintenance and repair of vehicles over 10 years old.
- Gaudin Porsche of Las Vegas Hennessy Porsche North Atlanta Napleton Westmont Porsche at Westmont, Illinois Paul Miller Porsche at Parsippany, NJ Porsche Chandler at Arizona Porsche of Colorado Springs at Colorado Porsche Monterey at Coast, California Porsche North Houston Porsche of San Diego Porsche South Bay in Hawthorne, Calif.
"The company here in the United States is growing much faster than what we are currently doing," Zellmer Automotive News said. "There is a lot of work that we have to do here in the United States to take care of those beautiful works of art."
The company supplies more than 52,000 original parts to dealers and independent repair shops to keep those cars on the road. Approximately 300 new and previously discontinued parts are added to the Classic catalog every year.
A Porsche model is considered a classic 10 years after the end of series production.
Classic customers also need vehicle services, adds Bucky Melvin, Classic business manager for Porsche Cars, and that is an extra opportunity for retailers. "If they have a bodywork and want to do full restorations, they can advertise."
Being a Classic dealer requires enthusiasm, competence and deep pockets.
The factory takes into account various factors when approving a Classic dealer, such as the size and age of the showroom, the demographics of the store, the quality of its technicians and the number of cars that go through the service department.
"It is a thorough research process based on multiple criteria," Melvin said. "Many things are being considered, including their Classic passion and their history that their Classic community maintains."
Classic partners have to invest between $ 65,000 and $ 85,000 in a Classic Corner in the showroom. The store must have a classic Porsche, organize at least two classic customer events annually, and send technicians and service advisers for periodic training.
"We want customers to realize immediately when they enter the showroom:" This is a classic partner ", says Zellmer." There is a certain footprint that we need, it's like a shop- in-shop system. "
As a classic dealer, it gives a halo effect on the dealer and opens doors to new customers.
It is also a way to attract existing customers and introduce them to classic cars, Melvin said. A Panamera owner who drives to the dealer for service can see the 993 and become curious about the Porsches heritage.
& # 39; Open our Porsche-tent & # 39;
Gary Ackerman, owner of Gaudin Porsche from Las Vegas, became a Classic dealer three years ago. Ackerman is a car dealer of the third generation and owns a collection of about 20 Porsche classics, including a 911 from 1964 and a 911 Turbo from 1975.
"I loved the brand, the product and the history," said Ackerman, who bought the Porsche dealer in the mid-1980s.
The Classic business "allows us to open up our Porsche tent to people who are absolute Porsche purists", Ackerman said. "I want those people to understand that Porsche still values them today."
Ackerman said he is in talks with suppliers in the independent repair and restoration activities about forming joint ventures to broaden Porsche Classic's service base.
"The more we can say yes to someone running around with a car with a Porsche weapon on it, the better we will all be," said Ackerman.
Porsche also recognizes that additional revenues from the Classic activities can form a hedge against an expected decline in service as the electrification expands over the industry. Porsche is preparing to invest more than $ 6.5 billion in vehicle electrification by 2022. Electric vehicles require less maintenance than vehicles with internal combustion engines.