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We were in Beirut on the 29th of January to attend the opening of the first Porsche Studio in the Middle East. Located just 45-seconds away from the Four Seasons Hotel (where we were put up), the Studio aims to deliver a new retail experience to its valued clientele in Lebanon. If you’d like to read more about what the Porsche Studio is all about and our detailed discussion with Deesch Papke, CEO of Porsche Middle East and North Africa, then read on. If you’d like to know how we managed to snag a selfie with him, head straight down to the very end of this article.
What is the fundamental background of a Porsche Studio? Deesch mentioned that not many years ago, people used to visit the showroom around 8 times before purchasing a car. If you’re above forty this probably rings a bell, but how many times did you visit the showroom before purchasing your last car? According to recent statistics, however, this figure has seen a sharp decline to no more than twice, and this is a game changer not only for dealers in the region but across the world.
The reason for this is obvious, it’s the internet. Yes, I feel old, much like a grandpa for addressing the internet as a game changer (with all due respect to grandpas) but we at YallaMotor know this better than most other people. Set at the research phase of an automotive purchase, we understand this since there are plenty of studies claiming that users prefer browsing third party websites (since they are more trustworthy) before browsing the dealer’s website and walking into an actual showroom.
We’re all aware that nowadays potential buyers browse the web for information and walk into showrooms fully armed (sometimes knowing more than the sales person attending to them). For this very reason, dealers need to start thinking about new ways to bring people into their controlled environments (the showroom) and providing something that cannot be offered through a computer screen - the actual experience with the brand.
If you are a current Porsche owner, a potential one or you just want to feel what it is like being a part of the Porsche family without having those four beautiful wheels parked in your garage, head on over to the Studio for a true Porsche experience. My first take of this Studio is much like a living room decorated with a car you aspire to own. If you want to experience the studio with a quick walk around video, watch below and if you want to know more about the 2018 Porsche Cayenne, which Anas Kiblawi attended the launch for in Fujairah, stay tuned for the full article!
Inside the studio, apart from cars, you can also select how you want to customize your Porsche, from the color of the key, to the design of the rims, and the shade of the exterior, to the design of the interior. In addition, you can purchase brand merchandize such as wallets, iPad protectors, card holders, espresso cups, and plenty more.
Along with the Porsche Studio, the brand also opened a charging station for its e-hybrid range. Which if you ask me, is a wonderful idea. You can visit the studio, charge your car, spend some time checking out the merchandize, browse the newest models on offer, have a chat with the specialists, and sip on some exquisite coffee (yes, they do have some sort of a cafeteria/bar where you can sit and chill).
If you are reading this article and you live in Beirut, or you have plans of visiting the Porsche studio anytime soon, pay attention to the details and ask the friendly staff there as many questions as you please, because everything in there exists for a reason. From the color of the walls to the lighting, and the way the vehicles are displayed, there’s a reason for it all. To give you a better understanding, there is a red line across the showroom, which is not just any red line but the exact shade of GTS red. There is always a connection between the building and the car.
When asked about the electric direction of the brand, Deesch continued to say, “for the time being, we will have a combination of combustion engines, hybrids and full electrics. Due to the nature of the markets we operate in, we cannot expect to go electric from one day to the other.” Part of the discussion also saw him ask a series of important questions such as what makes electric cars green? Is the power station important? Is the infrastructure important? Is the way the electricity generated important? Because if you charge your car with electricity that was generated through non-efficient sources then we will be taking steps backwards as a society.
Now, will more of these studios be opening in the GCC? The answer was a loud and certain “absolutely!”, but they don’t know when.
PS: Oh, about the selfie. I almost forgot. After a wonderful round table, other colleagues gathered to take pictures with Deesch and when I approached him for the same, he suggested a selfie. If that’s anything to go by, you can understand how cool and approachable he truly is.