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PORSCHE: Stepping up interest in corporate business

Date: 17 January 2014   |   Author:

Paul Barker speaks to Porsche's corporate sales boss Jonathan Maynard about how the firm intends to reverse a perception that it may have treated fleet 'arrogantly'
"There is an opportunity - it's very small, very niche - but people are excited about talking about our product," Jonathan Maynard

German brand Porsche is instigating moves to make itself more attractive to the leasing market and fleet operators as its product line-up continues to grow in business car appeal.

Having appointed a pre-owned and corporate sales manager in the form of Jonathan Maynard at the beginning of this year - the first time a Porsche GB employee has had the word corporate in their job title - the firm has been opening itself up to the fleet sector through increased information flow and openness.

"The product is the prime driver - we're not trying to get into fleet as in setting sales and volume targets," Maynard tells BusinessCar. "We're not about to embark on a big new sales strategy - it will be very much a Porsche approach."

The company is at huge pains to point out that it won't be pushing volume into the sector or setting fleet targets, but has made a number of moves designed to make itself easier to deal with, having previously shied away from even accepting it operated in the sector at all.

Maynard took up his role in early 2013, having joined the firm from Peugeot in January 2004.

"Maybe there is a perception that we have been a bit arrogant in the past, but we want to break down that boundary," continues Maynard, who feels that the activities of other perceived premium brands in moving into the mainstream could present an opening for Porsche.

"There is an opportunity coming for us - quality premium brands are becoming more ubiquitous and leaving behind some space as they push volumes out and lose a bit of discipline," he declares. "We are still in that zone. We're not about to lose our shape or discipline by getting into this marketplace."

Although Porsche is loath to talk specific numbers, the firm registered around 8000 new cars last year, should just shade that this year, and isn't looking for a huge volume growth from any increased fleet business.

The big move has been to finally open up to leasing companies with information flow. Recent moves include publishing SMR data to fleet influencers for the first time ever last month, a move coming just weeks after the brand took on SMR specialist Epyx's 1link system to speed authorisation of maintenance and repair.

Other changes the sports car manufacturer has implemented include a specific business area on its website with Porsche Contract Hire pricing examples for each model, improved data provision to the residual value experts, and it claims to have engaged with the top 25 leasing companies at the Porsche Experience Centre at Silverstone over the past two years.