Porsche hopes to attract the next generation of car buyers by enlisting U.S. dealers in rolling out a boutique retail concept, called Studios. The concept will focus on building the Porsche brand, according to Porsche Cars North America CEO Kjell Gruner.
It’s a retail approach already adopted in varying degrees by Tesla, Polestar and Mercedes-Benze.
Porsche plans to open its first U.S. Studio early next year in Portland, Oregon. The company will follow this launch with more Studios over the next few years and has already opened Studios in Asia and Europe.
The Porsche Studio mimics the Apple Store concept, which is more informational than transactional. The showrooms are meant to be an avenue for the curious to learn about the company's cars and heritage rather a means of selling cars.
The Studios will offer bespoke customization kits and brand merchandise. It allows to customize their 911 in a loungelike experience while sipping an espresso.
A community component includes space for art installations and exhibitions by local artists.
The new format can address novel customer needs and bring down investment requirements for dealers. Further, Studios are smaller and work well in cities where real estate is limited and expensive.
The new showrooms will put the Porsche brand closer to a younger clientele, who flock to fashionable and walkable mixed-use urban neighborhoods.
The first challenge is enlisting dealers. The companies needs dealers to like the concept, find the right spot, and have the means to invest in it.
Automotive News reports some dealers are wary of the model.
Robert DiStanislao, owner of RDS Automotive, which operates a Porsche store in suburban Philadelphia, worries the move will dilute the brand by going after price-conscious younger buyers.
“We’re in a beautiful niche spot between Mercedes and Bentley,” Di- Stanislao said. "Why are we chasing the downscale business that everybody's knifing themselves over?”
Di- Stanislao advises Porsche to remain an aspirational brand and not chase the mainstream.
However, Porsche leadership says the move addresses dealers’ need to sell cars today while investing in educating and engaging tomorrow’s buyers.