Porsche, dealers to set standards for training

Zellmer: “We’re well on track.”

Porsche executives will meet with key dealers at the Disney Institute this month​ to fine-tune standards for a new dealership training program that starts next year.

Leaders for Porsche Cars North America say the program, called Project Excite, is a long-term initiative to improve customers’ experience and increase brand loyalty among Porsche buyers. The company in February chose Disney to provide the training.

The program’s discovery phase is concluding, with more than 1,300 questionnaires received from employees at Porsche’s U.S. dealerships, said Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America. Data collected will be analyzed and Porsche executives from the U.S. and Germany will meet with some dealers Oct. 23 for a two-day session at Disney.

“We are going to talk about exactly what we think customer centricity means for Porsche with everybody involved,” Zellmer said. “We’re well on track. We would like to come up with some standards we consider important to live up to our Porsche values: behavioral standards, be it standards in the dealerships [or] standards we have to apply at Porsche Cars North America or in Germany.”

Porsche intends to use the rest of 2017 to finalize those standards and the training protocols. Training of dealership personnel — about 5,200 people are employed at Porsche’s U.S. dealerships — begins in 2018. Porsche has 188 U.S. dealerships.

Porsche had floated the idea of training all customer-facing dealership employees at one of the brand’s two U.S. Porsche Experience Centers. Porsche also asked dealers to add a new position — customer experience manager — at their stores. Though some dealers have said they are wary of increased costs, many have expressed support for the program and its objectives.