Editor's note: This article has been corrected to identify Robert DiStanislao as a member of the Porsche Dealer Board of Regents.
U.S. Porsche dealers are more than satisfied overall, considering Porsche Cars North America had record U.S. sales of 61,568 in 2019. That was the brand’s 10th consecutive year of U.S. sales growth and the eighth record year in a row.
“Porsche is riding the crest of this great wave in dealer-manufacturer relationships,” Robert DiStanislao, a member of the Porsche Dealer Board of Regents, told Automotive News.
Now the new year is off to a hot start, he said, with Porsche introducing the battery-powered Taycan. The first Porsche electric vehicle can generate up to 750 hp in loaded versions and accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds. The company sold 130 Taycans in December, its first U.S. retail sales.
But the brand and dealers continue to work through a couple of stubborn issues, said DiStanislao.
One is what DiStanislao said is the limited role of the factory’s captive finance arm, Porsche Financial Services.
“If there is an Achilles’ heel to Porsche, it is the captive,” he said. Porsche Financial provides retail and lease incentives but not floorplanning or capital improvement loans. So dealers rely on banks for wholesale financing, DiStanislao said. “That is tough for the dealer,” he said.
Porsche Cars North America also killed its popular co-op advertising “until further notice” to finance advertising for the Taycan during the Super Bowl, according to the dealer chairman, who is also president of Porsche of the Main Line in Newtown Square, Pa., in the suburbs west of Philadelphia.
“It is the majority of the budget” for the year, he said.
DiStanislao’s dealership sold 584 new vehicles in 2019 and 435 used cars, the majority of them certified pre-owned Porsches.
“For the people here, the highest take-rate car, for the highest percentage of people, is the fastest car, the meanest car,” he said of Porsche’s model lineup.
DiStanislao said he has a Taycan waiting list of almost 200 customers who put down $1,000 each. The store received Taycan demos in December, but DiStanislao said he wasn’t allowed to sell them right away. Through January, he sold two Taycans — one ex-demo and one brand-new car. DiStanislao said he expects to start getting more significant numbers — eight to 10 per month — in March or April.
“All in all, 2019 was a good year, a stable, consistent year,” DiStanislao said. “We didn’t have any blockbusters, but a stable year, I’d put it that way. Sales are up, and Porsche dealers are profitable.”