With the North American International Auto Show in Detroit struggling to keep their show floor full of new iron, the news came today that Porsche has dropped out of the CIAS in Toronto. Toronto is one of Porsche’s strongest market, so this move may come as a shock to some. In reality, it is a well thought out marketing decision that plays to the historic strength of the Porsche brand to the individual.
Laurance Yap, Porsche Canada’s PR rep said this morning:
Porsche traditionally has better results when it spends its marketing
dollars getting prospective customers into vehicles, such as driving events
held at local dealerships, than events such as auto shows. People are more
apt to buy if they drive the cars. So we’ll be putting a greater emphasis
on personal marketing activities.
In other words, the cars sell themselves.
In case any of you have missed it, there is a major crisis in the automotive industry these days and even the strongest niche brands stand to encounter some rough times ahead. Porsche is fortunate to have possibly the most iconic brand in the industry. They are a destination brand that people aspire to own from the time they are old enough to recognize a 911. The reason Porsche’s sell themselves is that the spirit is so far rooted in the enthusiast that he is sold before that flat six even spins to life. The growl from the pipes just pushes the potential owner over the edge.
Equally important to the proliferation of the icon is the human element. From the little kid at a car show who peers past the ropes to catch a glimpse of the newest Porsche to guys like our old friend Sarj who have owned several of the early air cooled machines, every enthusiast of the brand shares their favorite story with anyone who will listen. Owners regularly bring their friends to club and dealership events and those friends often buy in to the lifestyle of the brand. Porsche is one of the few brands where dealerships and owner’s groups continually work alongside one another.
By concentrating on the individual prospect, Porsche is perpetuating the human component of the brand, while keeping a watchful eye on the expense side of business.
I just hope they don’t miss any little kids trying to see over the rope, as they are the buyers of the future.
Press release after the break
MISSISSAUGA — December 12, 2008 — Porsche Cars Canada said today that it has made a business decision to apply its marketing resources in a targeted fashion to interact more directly with its customer base. It is re-evaluating its traditional presence in auto shows and, as part of this process, has said it will not have a display at the Toronto auto show in 2009.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Toronto auto show is the most important in Canada and we did not take this decision lightly,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Jasmin Rawlinson, Porsche CanadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Director of Marketing. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Still, as we seek to find better, more targeted ways to reach out to our potential customer base Ã¢â‚¬â€œ particularly in an economy as difficult as the one we face today Ã¢â‚¬â€œ we must look beyond traditional consumer auto shows, even ones as prominent as Toronto.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Rawlinson said that Ã¢â‚¬Å“Toronto is Porsche’s largest market in Canada Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and the Toronto Autoshow is a world-class event. But to participate with a Porsche-quality display would have required a major financial investment. Trying to connect more directly with Canadian customers allows us to allocate our limited marketing resources more effectively in a challenging economic environment.Ã¢â‚¬Â