In an effort to show America its unflinching dedication to the market, Porsche opened its $100 million customer experience center on May 7, to members of the media, local government officials, and excited auto enthusiasts. The unveiling of the Atlanta-based all-in-one experience center is Porsche’s largest investment outside of Germany to date, and the facility is designed to offer everything a Porsche fanatic or a curious car buyer could ever want in one place. This facility, which has been aptly entitled “One Porsche Drive,” stands as a new beacon for the automaker here in America, and it is officially Porsche’s corporate headquarters here in the states.
According to Porsche’s press release, the automaker opted to build the 27-acre facility in the Northeast corner of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after considering a whopping 70 different locations. This massive complex now puts every stitch of the company’s U.S. operations in one gargantuan building, and according to Porsche’s press release, this location was ultimately chosen since “Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure, skilled workforce and strong support from the city and the state were key reasons for the decision to expand in Atlanta.” Being housed next to the world’s busiest airport surely has its perks as well, as it allows approximately 80% of the U.S. population to reach the Porsche Experience Center (PEC) within two and a half hours of flying time.
Porsche predicts that its Experience Center is going to see over 30,000 visitors a year on average, and is designed to offer a hands-on experience to anyone who wants to completely immerse themselves in the brand. Porsche Cars North America CEO Detlev von Platen told Automotive News “It’s all about the experience. The visitors who come here will experience a brand and our products in a way they have never done before.”
As with all things Porsche, there is a definitive level of refinement to every aspect of the complex, and the 450 employees who now call this swanky headquarters home surely must be pleased with the finished product. But what about the customer? What do we get to look forward to when we pass through those massive glass doors? Surely there must be more to this super expensive establishment other than some fancy seating and a few classic display cars in a museum.
Porsche claims that there is nothing else like this in the world, and apparently the German-based automaker has designed this monolith to out-do any other manufacturer who tries to follow in its steps. From gift shops and museums, to auto art exhibits and lounges, this place really is an amusement park for Porsche fanatics. Starting in June, potential buyers can test drive any Porsche of their choosing on a 1.6-mile track and tackle six different driving courses including a race circuit, an off-road course, a low-friction circle, and a kick plate that is designed to mimic sliding.
Pricing for a “Porsche Driving Experience” starts around $300 and runs up to $750 for anyone wanting to compare something like a Porsche 911 GT3 to the 911 Turbo. Porsche also says custom packages will be made available through a customer’s local dealer or online, so all the customer has to do is show up with an ID and then it’s off to the proving grounds. But Porsche also understands that this structure shouldn’t be just a place for potential buyers, current car owners deserve to experience the track as well, so existing Porsche owners will be able to bring their vehicle to the track for a methodical thrashing to see how it measures up.
But the perks don’t stop there because Porsche really has designed this place to be a one-stop shop. The building houses conference and events centers, and has already begun booking events and meetings for a variety of businesses and nonprofit organizations. Meeting rooms are available for rent, and if a firm needs an entire wing of the building that can certainly be arranged for the right price. Hell, this place even offers a fine-dining restaurant, one seriously slick café, a museum housing classic Porsches, and a vehicle restoration center for classic Porsche owners.
Still not convinced that Porsche has pulled out all the stops? Just hit up one of its many driving simulators, the custom vehicle design studio, or Porsche’s human performance center, which uses specialty equipment to evaluate visitors’ fitness levels and trainers to customize nutrition and fitness programs. If this kind of “all encompassing experience” proves to bare fruit, Porsche will open a second U.S. experience center outside of Los Angeles sometime in mid-2016. According to Automotive News, Von Platen and Porsche are fairly confident that this $100 million investment will work in the company’s favor as it will hopefully help retain the loyalty of existing customers and help boost sales when potential customers purchase vehicles after a driving experience on the track.”We want to have an open space for the public” Von Platen says “We really believe in the growth of this market.”