Porsche Centre Reading, adjacent to the M4 in Calcot, Berkshire, has been a prominent feature of the local landscape for over 35 years. Now, an extensive development is destined to raise the profile of the showroom further; as it has officially opened as the first ‘Destination Porsche’ Centre in the UK.
Centre showrooms are important cornerstones of the Porsche retail landscape, and with 45 in the UK sales network, they are familiar landmarks for owners and enthusiasts of the Stuttgart sports car marque around the country. While Porsche is exploring new online sales initiatives in recognition of changes in customer behaviour, the company remains committed to an emotive, tactile and physical presentation of its cars and brand stories. The Destination Porsche concept reflects this and evolves the Porsche Centre from a point of sale into a point of brand experience.
“With the new ‘Destination Porsche’ retail concept, we are responding to changing customer needs,” said Marco Schubert, Vice President Region of Europe, Porsche AG. “Our broader model range is inviting new visitors through our doors, and we need to adopt a flexible approach to support their needs. On top, the wish for individualisation by owners means a higher degree of personal customisation than ever before. Add to this our rich history and our long tradition in motorsport, we have many stories to tell; so we are designing our Porsche Centres to be meeting places for customers, friends and fans.”
Research shows that customers appreciate being able to experience the brand with all their senses. Before making an online purchase, many people also wish to receive advice in the showroom. In addition, exchanges with other members of the Porsche community play an extremely important role.
The Destination Porsche concept recognises this and brings the digital and physical together. The architectural theme uses structures familiar from current Porsche Centres whilst a mix of new exterior design features and an evolution of familiar elements have been added.
The new Reading Porsche Centre is distinguished by distinctive red swathes in its exterior aluminium façade. Inside, the new showroom environment immerses the visitor in the brand experience. The space is characterised by an inviting and emotive atmosphere. Without any noticeable barriers, the reception zone and customer lounge merge into one.
A new, large glass window partition provides a view from the showroom into the workshop and allows the Aftersales area to become part of the showroom; similar to an ‘open kitchen concept’ in a restaurant. The Service department has been expanded with the addition of six new ramps in a workshop extension, bringing the total to 18, which increases capacity notably for Porsche Classic projects.
Two Direct Dialogue Bays are provided, designed to allow a 1:1 walkaround of a car guided by the technician. In this way, customers can be briefed on the condition of brake pads, wheels and tyres, and bodywork, and receive a diagnostic check which helps prepare a scope of work ahead of any repairs being undertaken.
One bay is now supported by a Fast Lane facility that uses bodywork cameras and automatic tyre tread analysis technology that extends the capability to assess a car’s condition on arrival.
The Reading showroom has more than doubled in area to over 2,000 m2. This allows up to 31 Porsche cars to be showcased, including Porsche Approved pre-owned examples. Meanwhile, the number of staff has risen bringing the total up to 58 both front of house and behind the scenes.
Managing Director of Porsche Retail Group, Adam Flint, commented: “Everyone at Porsche Centre Reading is proud of our new home and we look forward to welcoming customers to the first Destination Porsche in the UK. The Centre’s stunning architecture and state-of-the-art facilities will help support our fans and enthusiasts as they follow their Porsche dream.”