Marsh hasn't measured the hard numbers of those Saturday deals nor how many subsequent sales come from rally drivers or passengers. But he knows that sales are higher on rally days.
AutoNation Chief Marketing Officer Marc Cannon called Porsche Plano's rallies one of the top five examples of best practices for customers within the dealership group. The group shares news and photos from the Porsche store's rallies with its other 274 dealerships to encourage managers at other stores to emulate the event in some way.
"These are fun things I want to see set up, because that's how you keep a relationship," Cannon said.
The rallies at Porsche Plano began because managers were trying to figure out ways to get buyers to come back to the dealership before their one-year service visit. Nicole Smith-Clark, the store's receptionist at the time, suggested the idea. Smith-Clark is now a finance and insurance manager at the dealership, which sells about 600 new and 450 used vehicles a year.
The first rally had about 10 cars. But the event caught on fast, and the 50-car limit now is usually reached within 15 minutes of the email invitation going out. Marsh hires off-duty police officers to escort the group from the dealership's suburban Dallas location, so the cars stay together. Safety is foremost, and drivers are given rules of the event, which include no passing.
"It's not a fast drive," Marsh said, "but it's a spirited drive."
After breakfast at the dealership and the drive portion of the event, participants meet off-site at an interesting venue for a nice lunch. They've gone to places such as a theater, vineyard, Topgolf and even a client's country home.
The cars in the rally run the gamut from $250,000 special-edition Porsches to Macans and Boxsters, Marsh said. Participants form friendships and get a chance to bond with the dealership's sales and service personnel.
"I get inquiries all the time," Marsh said. " 'When is our next event?' "