Culture & Lifestyle / Yes, You Can Rent A Porsche! And Other Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada

Yes, You Can Rent A Porsche! And Other Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada

Culture & Lifestyle Oct 15, 2018

Marc Ouayoun was eager to explore a brand new market in a brand new country. So when he was approached to be the CEO of Porsche Canada after 7 years heading up Porsche France, he was ready for the shift. During my interview Ouyaoun expressed his fascination of this country’s multiculturalism, being at the forefront of the e-hybrid revolution and disrupting the traditional retail model. 

*I went on an amazing road trip driving three of Porsche’s new 2018 Panamera E-Hybrid cars. Check out my user experience and full spec details on each car here! 

Hina P. Ansari: What  is it about the Canadian market that surprised you?  

Marc Ouayoun: Canada is a very diverse and beautiful country. I really appreciate the diversity of the country. Not only with the landscape but with the people. It’s very unique actually. It’s a very different atmosphere with a bit of North American and some touches of Europe as in Quebec. Also out west I see the large Asian presence.

I was really surprised at the love that Canadians have for Porsche. [We have a] very strong market share here in Canada.

 

Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada
Innovative  Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada : Marc Ouayoun CEO of Porsche Canada. Photo Credit: Porsche Canada

 

HPA: Tell me how the buying habits and the brand loyalty of Canadians differ from that of the European market?

MO: The diversity of our target groups is very pronounced here. Our client base extends from the traditional Porsche owner who is also a member of the Porsche Club to the young Asian customer arriving in Canada. Here in Canada, more than Europe, it’s the exclusivity and appreciation of the values that we share with our customers. Our customers love the exclusivity, the design, the quality and most important of all is that most of our models can be driven in the winter.

HPA: Porsche is commonly seen as a summer car. Is it really built for our tough Canadian winters?

MO: Porsche in the 60s and 70s were only sports cars. Two door drives. And that was it. And of course it was more of a summer car. We changed the model lineup. Now both of the models here in Canada are the SUV. And we are very excited to say that when we thought about the model lineup, in addition to our sports cars, we also have a different model segment, the SUV and the sedan. So we also have a history of the full-wheel drive.

It started with the Cayenne in 2002. The Cayenne helped us to conquer a new market where in places where the roads can be rougher. With the Cayenne we entered the North America, Middle East and China market where the sports car can only be used for a number of months. The Cayenne was the first real Porsche that you can ride anywhere in any condition.

Now we have the the Macan. The Macan GTS was my first car when I arrived in Canada in January. It’s great fun in the snow. I  was blown away with the performance of the Macan GTS in the snow. The Macan is so fun to drive. It’s practical. You can use it every day for grocery shopping for example, as it has good storage capacity but also it’s car that you can drive on the track and in the snow. It’s a great car.

HPA: How is Porsche working towards attracting the female clientele?

MO: To be honest I don’t like to say we are trying to attract women buyers. Yes, Porsche traditionally in the past has attracted male buyers. Today, I think that we are attracting more people who share our brand value. We have now many women customers buying the Macan. Of course when you look at our customer profile there are more men buyers. Traditionally men are the ones who were going to the dealership. We want to change that. We want to attract buyers who are true to the brand. Buyers for whom the brand represents something they like.

Our customers are male, female, young and seniors. We also are very happy to get customers who are newly retired and are buying a Porsche for the first time. Our range is so broad now that we can really have a very large customer base.

Today, our clientele view themselves as established and educated. There’s a high penetration in the big cities, such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. We also feel that some of the cars that we are selling today is targeting a younger target group. Age range of “young” would be starting in the 40s.

 

Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada
Innovative  Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada: The Macan. Photo Credit: Porsche Canada

 

HPA: Tell me about Porsches’s Asian market in Canada? 

MO: What is striking with our Chinese market, is that we find that the buyers in China who are typically 10 years younger than the age range found in North America and Europe. Of course that tends to drive our profile. I saw that in Vancouver as well where the average Porsche buyer who is Asian is much younger.

We are starting to work with our agency by bringing in Mandarin into our portfolio. We are also going to a local level by being very active with local media. We are hiring a big proportion of Chinese Porsche consultants because we feel that we need it to have the right customer service and customer consultation.

We are absolutely finding more customers from India as well, especially in Toronto where we have a large customer base who are Indian. Next year we would also look at expanding into the Indian demographic.

We are a brand that is global so we try to communicate our brand values globally. Of course our events would be local, talking to the right people at different target groups. However our brand value is global so you can relate to our brand regardless of where you are from.

HPA: What is Porsche’s plan for the E-Hybrid market?

MO: We started a long time ago with this technology. Hybrid technology is very interesting with respect to exploring low consumption, low emissions and that’s very important because we are a brand that is very interested in respecting the environment. We are trying to create a pure car.

What’s also important to us is driving and performance pleasure. The E-Hybrid is a great way to keep our DNA and explore the future of the sports car. It’s a really good combination.

We really feel that a full electric engine can fit perfectly into our brand as it also has a lot of power, a lot of torque. The car is very dynamic. We believe that electric cars for us is the future. It can drive like a Porsche and it can feel like a Porsche.

 

Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada
Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada: The 918 Spyder. Photo Credit: Porsche Canada

 

HPA: Will Porsche go fully electric? 

MO: Yes absolutely. We started years ago with our hybrid models. We started with the Cayenne then the Panamera. And of course the super car 918 Spyder was the first plug-in hybrid super car in the market. And that was already eight years ago. We were in the forefront of developing hybrid cars. The Taycan is the next step for us. It’s a new revolution as it will be the first full all electric sports vehicle.

Taycan will have electricity that will offer 400 km of range in a charge of just 20 minutes with a 800V charging station. The car is extremely fast. It will be a 4-door sports car with Porsche DNA that you can find in the 911. You will see a big revolution with this car. I am really looking forward to see how it is received in Canada.

The Taycan will be sold in Canada in the beginning of 2020. From a technology point of view it will be the most advanced. We have already hundreds of preorders from Canada who are really waiting for the car. The first year of production has almost pre-sold already. We have the same situation in Europe and USA.

HPA: Were you surprised about the Canadian response to the Taycan?

MO: I’m not surprised because I can see that Canadian buyers are very sensitive to sustainability which is an important value for them. You can see many initiatives for example the Quebec’s new regulations and rebate to promote electric vehicles. Vancouver is also very active. So pushing a green vehicle is important and Toronto is going in the same direction. It’s about having the right model for the right market. And I’m sure that the Taycan is the right model for this market.

We are not only creating a no-emissions car, our vision is to create a no-emissions factory. We are working hard now to develop and inject billions in our factory. In the next next three to five years we plan to have a zero-emissions factory. It’s a completely environmentally friendly space. It doesn’t seem right that we are building a green car in an old factory with their own emissions. We want to build a brand new facility in Germany for the Taycan. You will see the factory very soon. It will be one of the greenest factory in the automotive industry.  We are finishing the installation of various aspects. We have a factory complex in the suburb of Stuttgart – named Zuffenhausen — where the 911 is built. Symbolically we wanted to show that where the 911 was created, we are also creating the Porsche of the future. So the Taycan will also be built in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen.

 

Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada
Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada: Porsche’s fully electric car, the Taycan. Photo Credit: www.consumerreports.com

 

HPA: Porsche has some very interesting ways for the clientele to really explore what the car offers including cool driving programs. Tell me about them. 

MO: The Porsche Center is where you see the car on display and you submit your order. Now the client wants to experience the brand, not only at the Porsche Center but also through various activities.

For that reason we have  programs that our customers really love. In the winter we have the Porsche Ice Experience every year. We also have different ride programs because we think that we have something to deliver to our customer. That is the Porsche experience. We have the Porsche Travel Experience in different parts of Canada. We’re really lucky here because we have such a beautiful landscape. We have a drive program in British Columbia (starts and ends in Vancouver but goes through the BC interior) and in Nova Scotia (starts and ends in Halifax but goes through the Cabot Trail) in October. And every time we organize them we are immediately sold out. Because owning a Porsche is not only a car to get you from A to B during the week, but you also want to experience your car’s driving pleasure in fantastic lifestyle tours and experiencing it on the road. This is a big trend for our customers.

The Porsche Center will remain the main destination in the future. It will be a combination of the digital and the physical experience. And on top of that, we try to create new formats for our customers to enhance their Porsche experience on the track and in the big cities.

HPA: The current consumer has really changed the game when it comes to car shopping. How is Porsche delivering the digital experience?

You have the physical experience and the digitized experience and they are both working together. A lot of our customers are using the computer to configure their cars first and then they come to the dealership and get a guide from their consultant. And some of them come to the dealership with very concrete ideas on what they want.

The physical experience is your first ride (test drive) which is with whom we call a Porsche Pro that shows you how the car behaves, what are the material choices etc. In the big cities we have — for example in Oakville, Ontario — the City Showroom. It’s not exactly a Porsche Center but we have created a space where people live and where they go shopping. The showroom is very digital. We have only one or two cars on display with a lot of digitization.

We are combining the traditional retail format with the City Showroom, a new retail format. You can also rent a Porsche on a short-term basis.

 

Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada
Innovative Strategies As Revealed By CEO Of Porsche Canada: Snapshot from my roadtrip with Porsche had the opportunity to drive the 2018 4 E-Hybrid Panamera Sport Turismo (left) and the 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Photo Credit: Hina P. Ansari

 

HPA: Wait, you can rent a Porsche?

MO:  You can just try it out and experience the car for a weekend. And that’s something we want to continue in the future.We are starting in Montreal at the Rive-Sud Showroom at the moment. It’s also in the City Showroom in Oakville. We have a rental program called Porsche Drive and you can go to the website and book a car for one hour, one day, one weekend or one month.

We are very successful with that program and want to extend that. And also we are considering bringing an initiative in Toronto called Porsche Passport.  For customers who want to experience Porsche but don’t want to own a car.

You pay a monthly fee and you can have a Porsche you want for however long you want. If you want a Porsche Cayenne for a vacation, for example, you can book and someone will drop off the car for you.

It’s completely new and it’s very successful and we are thinking about this for Canada too. This is a new way to experience our model. Right now it’s in Atlanta U.S.. We are looking at launching the monthly subscription in Toronto next year.

HPA:  The rental programs is definitely a noteworthy way of addressing the changing automotive world. What other initiatives do you have?

MO: The automotive world is changing, not only from a product point of view but also from a retail point of view and from a customer experience level as well. We are thinking about how to prepare for the future of our brand.

There’s a driving track (one hour drive from Toronto) called Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville. Porsche track driving experiences have been held there since 2017 and are open to anyone with a driver’s license who would like to register.

Then we also have the Factory Delivery. Upon ordering your new Porsche, you can ask to get “European Delivery”. This means you can take possession of your car in Germany and drive it in Europe for up to a week before bringing it back. The car will then be sent to Canada where you can take delivery at your Porsche Centre.

HPA: What word comes to mind when you think of “Porsche”?

MO: Uncompromised. Our brand is celebrating 70 years this year. Since the very beginning the spirit of the brand is creating the sports car without compromise.

We don’t compromise on our values, technology, engineering, positioning as a sports car. It’s a car that fits most of the segments with a broader and broader customer base.

 

Main Image Photo Credit: www.consumerreports.com 

 

Hina P. Ansari

Hina P. Ansari

Author

Hina P. Ansari is a graduate from The University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario). Since then she has carved a successful career in Canada's national fashion-publishing world as the Entertainment/Photo Editor at FLARE Magazine, Canada's national fashion magazine. She was the first South Asian in...

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