Porsche Opens New North American HQ

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The next time you find yourself flying into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, take a look at the northeast corner of the airport. Just 200 yards to the east of  runway 26R sits the former location of Ford’s Atlanta Assembly plant, which shut down in 2006. About five years ago, Porsche started the long process of building its new North American headquarters on the unused space. One Porsche Drive (its new address) is a monument to all things Porsche. There you’ll find a groovy-looking building with sports cars speeding on an adjacent racetrack. What you are seeing is Porsche North America’s new $100 million headquarters and Porsche Experience Center, which opened their doors to the public this week. “Today we celebrate a significant milestone in the history of Porsche as we expand our footprint in the United States and reaffirm our commitment to the state of Georgia and the city of Atlanta,” Matthias Mueller, president and CEO of Porsche, said. “We are investing more than ever before, heightening visibility for the Porsche brand in the US and worldwide.”

The U.S. represents one third of Porsche’s worldwide vehicle sales, a number that the company says has steadily increased over the last few years. But Porsche is hoping to up the ante even more, with the new $100 million, over-the-top headquarters. “We built all of this to allow consumers to really experience the love affair we have with cars,” said Detlev von Platen, president and CEO of Porsche North America. “We are manufacturing sports cars in Germany. We have two factories. Here, we are manufacturing experiences,” he said. “(We’re) offering to visitors to the corporation a different way to know about Porsche to experience to feel, to smell, to listen to our cars and to learn about our history.”

Porsche North America has called Atlanta home since 1998. But with the new 27-acre facility, Porsche has created an opportunity to connect with current and prospective buyers. In fact, the new Porsche compound is the largest investment the company has ever made outside Germany.

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So what do the new HQ and Porsche Experience Center offer? How about a high-speed test track. And there’s an off-road course, where drivers can get a little muddy. Inside, you’ll find a gallery of classic Porsches from the company’s illustrious past, such as a Brumos Racing Porsche and classic Porsche 356 Speedster. Those interested in fine dining can drop by Restaurant 356. On the business end, the facility features 13,000 square feet of business and meeting space. Ultimately, the best part is that you don’t even need to be a Porsche owner to experience the awesomeness of the new facility. In the Human Performance Center, where fitness experts can evaluate your physical strength, stamina, nutritional status, even your hydration levels. The Performance Center offers a menu of options, from a 90-minute assessment all the way up to a 12-month executive plan. The staff is from Exos, an extreme fitness company that trains NFL athletes, the German football team, and Navy Seals. Already there’s a four-month waiting list for driver instruction and a three-month wait for fitness analysis.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says the building also serves as a symbol. “Ninety-five million people are going to look out their window and see the crest of Porsche Cars of North America, and it’s going to associate the city of Atlanta with the best.”

Clearly, Porsche Experience Center also is designed to be a revenue generator for the company. The 1.6-mile road course actually loops through the heart of the main building. Consumers can reserve time to test-drive any of Porsche’s six models. And for a fee ($300 to $750 a day, depending on the car), you can get professional driving instruction from one of the 40 instructors, and even test Cayenne and Macan SUVs on the steep, technical and muddy off-road course.

Inside, customers can custom-spec their new car, have a vintage car restored, enjoy some of the most important race cars on the planet in the Classic Car Center, and book a meal in the high-end Restaurant 356. There’s a bank of latest-technology racing simulators to play with, and a store where you can buy everything from fan gear all the way up to a $15,000 Porsche Design purse. The center’s size will also allow Porsche to rent out space for private events and business conferences—yet another new revenue stream for the company.