Porsche plans to open a series of showrooms in the U.S. that the company is calling “Studios”. These stores will be owned by Porsche, not dealers, and as such will allow customers to dip a toe into the Porsche experience in a low- or no-pressure environment.
Porsche Cars North America CEO Kjell Gruner likened the concept to an Apple Store while talking with Automotive News. Instead of sales staff, customers will interact with Porsche Pros who are knowledgeable about the cars but don’t try to give you the hard sell.
Based on photos from Porsche Studios in other countries, it looks to be something more than a Tesla store but less than full-blown Porsche Experience Centers, which have their own tracks and restaurants. Customers will be able to check out the product, learn about Porsche heritage, and cop some branded merch. Of course, you can also buy a car if you wish.
Porsche Studios overseas are typically located in urban areas and will have space for a couple of cars. The spaces aren’t always occupied by a new model, though. Sometimes there will be a classic or race car. Orbiting them will be configurator stations, color and fabric samples, and perhaps a coffee bar.
Porsche also sees these spaces as not exclusively focused on cars. Room will be made for rotating art installations, meeting spaces, even yoga classes. Porsche envisions a place where Porsche clubs can hold get-togethers, or race fans can host watch parties for motorsports events, Gruner told AN.
The concept isn’t new. Lexus and Genesis have both opened similar boutiques in New York, where there isn’t space for a parking lot of new cars in various trims and colors, but where foot traffic and shoppers are plentiful. Cadillac, too, had one in the Big Apple before the headquarters was moved back to Detroit. Many carmakers have similar storefronts in cities such as Tokyo, Paris and London as well.
Automotive News is a dealer trade publication, and in reporting the dealer perspective it seems some are not thrilled with the idea. However, Gruner says that if executed correctly, the Studios will appeal to a younger generation, which prefers to buy online and does not want to travel to a suburban auto mall for the traditional dealership experience.
The first Porsche Studio will open in early 2022 in Portland, Oregon, with more to come in the following years.