70 years of the Porsche Sports Car
The first vehicle to bear the Porsche name was registered on June 8, 1948 and is now known as the Type 356 “No.1” Roadster. It was in Stuttgart, Germany that the Type 356 turned Ferry Porsche’s dream of a sports car into a reality. Inquirer Motoring talks to Arthur Willmann, Managing Director for Porsche Asia Pacific at the legendary racetrack of Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia during the media launch and track day of the all-new Porsche Cayenne.
Willmann was born and grew up in the heart of Porsche Land in Stuttgart and it was where he spent the last 10 years at the Porsche headquarters where he started out as an intern and over the years, gained extensive experience in key management roles in the company’s various business fields. Earlier this year, he was appointed Managing Director of Porsche Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, the regional office and subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, based in Singapore.
During the interview, he was wearing a limited edition Porsche Design P’6612 Dashboard Chronograph. “This watch was a limited edition timepiece that was introduced together with the launch of the Porsche Cayenne GTS Design Edition 3 and there was an option for the car owner to get a watch to pair with the Cayenne. I bought this watch in 2010 and have been wearing this ever since.” Said Willmann.
When asked what is the typical age group of a Porsche customer, he replied – “There is no definite age group as the age demographics vary from country to country. But everyone is welcome to appreciate and join the brand. On my way here, I can see the positive reaction even from kids instantly recognizing the Porsche I was driving so you can see the car appeals to almost all age groups. It’s not just our new cars, there are classic Porsche cars that are handed down from the previous generation.”
Porsche’s product development strategy is guided by its three pillars – namely the very emotional and conventional combustion engine driven cars like the 911 GT3, followed by performance-oriented hybrid vehicles like the Panamera and lastly the high performance electric vehicles, case in point the Mission E. According to Willmann, this three-pronged approach in product development will sustain the brand towards the new generation of Porsche owners.
After the historic 356 model, the Porsche 911 designed by Ferry Porsche’s son Ferdinand Alexander, gave the company its breakthrough as one of the leading manufacturers of sports cars in the world, both from a technical and a design perspective. Since 1963, the 911 has undergone seven generations and is considered the most successful sports car and most recognizable model in the world. With the introduction of its Mission E Concept, Porsche ushers in the first purely electrically driven technology-advance sports car of the future. This concept vehicle combines the distinctive emotional design of a Porsche, exceptional driving performance and forward-thinking everyday functionality.
Willmann is no stranger to the Asia Pacific region thanks to his previous roles as Director Asia Pacific, Australia, Japan and South Korea, which he held since 2014, and his expertise in digital marketing and connectivity makes him the ideal executive to handle the brand’s growing presence online specially on social media.
“We recently launched an exclusively digital campaign called The Gift of Time, which is a 70 second cinema celebrating our 70 years which is quite important to us. Personally, it is not just for the younger generation but I can see most people go online to get in touch with the brand. But the tactile experience is very important to Porsche.” Willmann was referring to activities like track days and creating the ultimate dealer showroom experience to promote the brand. “We created the #sportscartogether hashtag to celebrate this very special milestone and we will definitely do something big this coming June.” He added.