Many people look to the future and see challenges, but when Porsche looks to the future, they see opportunities. According to Porsche America’s President & CEO Klaus Zellmer, the automotive industry will change more in the next five years than it has an in last 50. Embracing the opportunities that are associated with rapid development, Porsche has developed a 2025 plan. At the World Affairs Council of Charlotte CEO Series Luncheon, Zellmer captivated the audience by introducing a trajectory of innovation that Porsche will continue embarking upon in the coming years.
Working with Porsche for over 20 years, Klaus Zellmer brought his passion for the company to Atlanta, Georgia. With majority of operations taking place in the German headquarters, Zellmer serves as a type of ‘Automotive Ambassador’ to the United States. Understanding the progressions in technology, Porsche is moving towards more autonomous driving, enticing subscription services that allow people to swap out Porsche vehicles to experience many makes and models, and electrification as a means of powering the cars. Porsche is looking to continue making ‘playgrounds’ for Porsche enthusiasts.
Porsche has strong brand loyalty and recognition, which comes in part from the understanding that Porsche is all about the experience. The profound experience drivers encounter when entering a Porsche vehicle is exactly why Zellmer tells the audience that Porsche will always keep steering wheels and ‘the funny little pedals’ in the vehicle, because the company steadfastly believes that people truly want to engage with the car, if they chose to drive a Porsche.
The concept of engaging with Porsche vehicles is behind the creation of two Porsche experience centers in the United States. In Atlanta and Los Angeles, guests can experience a Porsche as it was intended to be driven: fast. Not only have the experience centers allowed Porsche enthusiasts the opportunity to get behind the wheel, it reinforces the Porsche Brand. This strategic endeavor was all a part of the Porsche story. A story that spread from Germany and created a brand that is recognizable, innovative, and luxurious. The power of the Porsche brand was clear to see as several young children brought pages from magazines with pictures of Porsche vehicles to be signed. Porsche prides itself on inspiring people of all ages.
While Porsche is one of the most well-known German companies in America, the market share Porsche has of all vehicles is 0.003%. Klaus Zellmer gave the example of a full mall parking lot that had 1,000 cars, yet only 3 of the cars would be Porsche’s. This anecdote was strategically used to justify Porsche’s decision to keep all operations and manufacturing in Germany. This allows Porsche to engage in a dynamic international trade market that spans the globe. From Charlotte, to Los Angeles, to Germany, the Porsche brand is one that inspires innovation, an appreciation for continual evolutions in engineering, and excitement.
Written by Lindsey Golden, Queens University of Charlotte Class of 2018, WACC Spring Intern