Destination Porsche isn’t Just a Building – it’s a State of Mind.
Walking into Porsche Palm Springs you feel as though you’ve been rocketed into a high-tech automotive universe.
As you stroll through various Porsche “worlds” surrounded by the latest models of some of the most stunning and powerful sportscars in the world, you find yourself immersed in what feels like the ultimate Porsche experience. (Outside of driving one, of course).
Welcome to the future of Porsche.
In fact, Porsche Palm Springs represents that future in a very real way. It’s the world’s first “next gen showroom” showcasing the German automaker’s new design philosophy: Destination Porsche.
The innovative concept emphasizes brand experience and inspiration as well as flexibility and use of digital media for communication with customers. The new generation of Porsche dealerships are intended to become a central gathering place for the Porsche community, which is made up of current and future customers. The Destination Porsche model being tested in Palm Springs is expected to be implemented at 850 existing Porsche dealerships worldwide in the coming decade.
“In a world that is moving evermore digital, Porsche is investing in its physical stores – where experience, inspiration and digital meet,” explains Bram Zeegers, General Manager of Porsche Palm Springs. “Destination Porsche is intended to be a gathering place for clients as well as a retail concept that will enhance the customer experience.”
Everything about the welcoming and technologically advanced building seems herald the dawning of a new automotive age, from the solar technology that brings power to Porsche’s electric vehicles to the tech-laden multi-sensory journey visitors enjoy as they browse the latest models.
With its aluminum architecture sparkling in the sun, the modernist building’s open-feeling and hospitable atmosphere is further emphasized by the elevated glass façade on the main level. Aluminum panels above the main entrance – along with LED accent lighting on multiple floors – showcase the futuristic design and even mirror the design of Porsche cars themselves. The shape of the louvers on the main façade evokes the famous haunches of Porsche’s most iconic sports car: the 911 Carrera.
But it’s more than just a pretty façade. The building is a state-of-the-art LEED-certified structure that meshes seamlessly with Palm Spring’s world-renowned collection of modern, architecturally significant buildings and homes. The “green” design includes solar panels that not only power the building but also service and recharge the new Porsche Taycan, the brand’s first 100 percent electric vehicle and perhaps the automotive ambassador of “next gen” or Gen. 5 Porsche concept.
Although the Taycan may represent the future of Porsche, every Porsche model is showcased within the sun-dappled 45,000-square-foot space. The 911, Cayman, and Cayenne, for instance, each have their own distinctive environment through which visitors can pass as they walk the interior “road.” In fact, the 2-year-old dealership offers 30% to 40% more inventory than the previous one.
The interior layout also provides an exclusive tech-enabled immersive Porsche experience.
Each of the showroom’s “environments” or “worlds” serves to provide a multi-sensory experience via an audio/visual system (including 12 digital screens) that allows customers to experience their personal car configuration before buying. The layout is easy to customize to fit regional or individual trends. Modules, for instance, can represent current product highlights, E-Performance or Porsche Certified Pre-Owned cars.
In other words, Destination Porsche encompasses a digital world that interacts seamlessly with customers. The virtual reality applications allow customers to experience their chosen car configuration, and touch screens make the Porsche products come alive in a way that is cutting edge and interactive. This experience includes a tablet-based vehicle acceptance process, E-signature, online payment and other digital processes that elevate the customer’s experience and creates a highly personalized connection between customers and Porsche automobiles.
Skylights bring natural light to the airy and open interior space. A walking bridge on the second floor is similar to one at the famous Porsche manufacturing facility in Stuttgart, Germany, where Porsche vehicles are transported atop a conveyor belt that transfers them to the next stage of assembly.
Porsche Palm Springs also has a Porscheplatz, a social space with seating arrangements, as well as a café and a corner for kids. The second floor includes workspaces and a lounge that can be used to host special events. The expanded service department includes 12 service bays, two classic bays and two electric bays and an area where visitors can view the service area from behind a large window.
A new and exciting Porsche concept.
Porsche Palm Springs is a prototype of the company’s new architectural philosophy: Destination Porsche. Three more Destination Porsche dealerships have since opened in Dortmund, Germany, and Hangzhou, China, Quebec, Canada – with many more expected in the coming years.
The cutting-edge building and showroom are the result of a partnership between Porsche and indiGO Auto Group, a luxury automotive dealer with 20 franchised dealerships in five U.S. markets.
The building’s open concept not only includes the flexible “worlds” but provides a fun glimpse at Porsche’s legendary history via the “Classic Corner,” where one can check out such legends as the 1958 356 Speedster or the 1996 993 Turbo.
“Overall, the impact is one of calm and awe,” Zeegers says. “The building’s tight lines and carefully thought out lounge area bring a sense of peace to its visitors while the open spaces, which are both wide and tall, welcome customers and encourage them to start exploring.”
The open design also allows employees and customers to interact in the different worlds and lounge areas rather than retreating to offices.
“It creates more of a hands-on approach using the physical attributes we have available as well as the digital tools that surround us in the building,” Zeegers explains. “And it’s an exciting atmosphere because we get people from all over the world who stop by because we are the first Gen. 5 Porsche Building in the world.”
When visitors arrive, they face a lineup of cars that resembles a starting grid on a racetrack. Customers are surrounded by individual models from a specific line or highlighted topic – and can even enjoy classic Porsches of the past.
Visitors can purchase or rent a Porsche, have their automobile serviced and also soak up the entire Porsche brand experience in a way that did not exist before Destination Porsche.
And customers will always be able to recognize the Porsche dealership because the design of the building is just as evolutionary as the design of Porsche cars. With 191 Porsche dealerships in the United States, transforming them all into Destination Porsche buildings won’t happen overnight, according to Porsche. Instead, the rollout will happen gradually as each existing dealership is ready to upgrade.
And although Porsche builds its cars in Germany, there’s perhaps no better place to own one than Southern California. Scenic roads, plenty of sunshine, and a long-term and vibrant “car culture” contribute to a large number of Porsches famously finding homes in the Golden State since the automaker first started sending its “356” runabouts to the United States in the early 1950s. In other words, Porsche has been a big part of the Golden State’s automotive history and part of its Hollywood-driven mystique.
To create the first Destination Porsche in Palm Springs indiGO Auto Group founder Todd Blue worked with Porsche executives in Stuttgart, Germany, to determine everything from the building’s layout and architectural materials to the motifs and general vibe. He told Entrepreneur magazine that Porsche wanted to build something that didn’t just compete with other dealerships but could be instead compared to a luxury hotel or boutique or an Apple Store.
“The idea is to take customers through a Porsche journey – step onto the road and immerse oneself into the brand’s DNA, from past to present to future, through distinct environments that reflect and celebrate each model offering,” Blue told the magazine.
“This facility is truly a destination. This is a dealership where one can purchase, be serviced, and also soak up the entire Porsche brand experience in a way that currently does not exist for automotive retail.”
The new dealership is fast becoming a Palm Springs landmark, attracting the interest of customers and sportscar lovers alike.
“Consumer trends are changing fast at the moment, so we decided to find out what the future of retail looks like for our brand. One outcome was a fresh take on dealership design, and Porsche Palm Springs is the result,” Klaus Zellmer, then President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc., told Entrepreneur. “We had to rethink everything, from the layout to the link between digital and analog, but I think we have created a lively space that inspires Porsche passion for enthusiasts and customers alike.”