Porsche Cars North America has added its entire U.S. inventory of new cars to its online marketplace as the company seeks to keep up with customer demands and the industry's shift to digital commerce.
When the online marketplace Porsche Finder launched in May 2020, customers were only able to search for pre-owned and certified pre-owned vehicles using the tool. That platform, which lets customers search by vehicle model and generation as well as price, equipment, packages and colors, now includes all new vehicle inventory from its 193 U.S. dealerships.
The platform, which was developed by automaker's Porsche Digital subsidiary and PCNA, also includes features that let customers estimate a trade-in value and a payment calculator to compare leasing and financing options from Porsche Financial Services.
Online platforms that allow customers to search for products are not new. As customers shift their shopping to online — a trend that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic — digital platforms have become a critical tool for companies.
Established automakers like Porsche, however, have had to balance the demand of its customers and dealership network. Porsche doesn't have a direct sales model like Tesla and new entrants Lucid Group and Rivian.
"The dealership is still at the center of everything we do," PCNA President and CEO Kjell Gruner said in a recent interview. "At the dealership, we believe very much in personal interaction — in looking somebody in the eye, reading their body language. And, of course, our products are very physical."
While all 193 dealers are participating in the Porsche Finder tool, Gruner acknowledged that this large group includes those who have been more cautious about the move toward digital commerce.
"You always have some more innovative people, some more cautious," he said. "COVID ... really prompted a willingness to go digital and to use those tools for their own advantage."