Porsche is putting greater emphasis on its Porsche Classic business initiatives in order to capitalize on the booming auto restoration and parts market, said officials of the German sports car manufacturer.
During a recent Porsche Factory Restoration workshop at its North American headquarters in Atlanta, Porsche’s leaders discussed how they plan to expand the company’s capacity to perform high-level restorations and repairs, as well as to provide customers with the sometimes elusive parts they seek.
“The Porsche Factory Restoration workshop in Atlanta is the front door to Porsche Classic in North America,” said Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of Porsche North America. “One of several strategic initiatives, it is a natural expansion of our business in the U.S., where there are more classics on the road than any other market.”
And there is a lot of money being spent nationwide and in Georgia to restore and repair classic cars.
There are more than 20 million Americans who spend about $1.5 billion each year on classic and antique cars, trucks and motorcycles, according to classic car insurer Hagerty Group. Also, auto parts - called the aftermarket - generate more than $392 billion in sales in the U.S., according to the Auto Care Association.
In Georgia, the automotive industry accounts for about $2.9 billion, according to the state. In addition to Porsche, Mercedes-Benz’ North American headquarters is located in metro Atlanta; Kia operates a plant in West Point; and there are dozens of auto parts manufacturers located throughout the state.
Next year, European luxury car manufacturer Jaguar will build a restoration facility in Savannah, creating 75 new jobs. The Chatham County facility will cater to the owners of classic Jaguar and Land Rovers and other auto enthusiasts. Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2019.
Also for Porsche, there are other numbers that are driving a greater push into the restoration market. More than 70 percent of all Porsche cars produced are still on the road in the U.S. today, officials said. That’s about 200,000 vehicles, almost twice the number as in Germany.
“Our customers love their treasures and want to preserve them,” Kellmer said.
The Porsche Classic facility, which opened June 2015, services about 35 cars a year. Some of the work involves complete restorations of so-called barn find car or cars that have been wrecked. At other times, the company’s team of highly-skilled technicians works on delicate or sensitive repairs.
“We restore cars back to perfection,” Zellmer said. “We try to bring them back to almost like new condition, giving us a chance to show what we can do.”
Porsche also has partnered with about 1,000 companies to provide more than 52,000 genuine part items for customers. The certified companies issue about 300 new editions of parts each year, most based on customer and dealership requests. The companies also make oils and other fluids that help the older cars operate better, while ensuring that they comply with modern environmental regulations.
Zellmer said the parts sector is the fastest growing business stream for Porsche, accounting for about 10 percent of revenues.
Another benefit for consumers, company officials said, is the ability to access the troves of original specifications and designs for the vehicles to make sure any part or repair meets the Porsche standard.
Another initiative, which begins next month, will be the Porsche Classic Technical Certificate Program. Under this program, classic Porsche owners can pay $500 to have their cars run through a 63-point pass/fail inspection. The certificate will not only establish the current condition of the car but also will provide the owner with the original specifications for their Porsche model.
“Tradition is one of our core brand values,” said Alexander Fabig, director of Porsche Classic. “It’s not just about restoring and caring for old cars, but looking into the future, making sure our customers have fun with these cars for decades.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.