Robert DiStanislao is chairman of the Porsche Dealer Board of Regents and president of Porsche of the Main Line in Newtown Square, Pa., in the famously wealthy suburbs west of Philadelphia.
He said Porsche's 192 U.S. dealerships have a lot of reasons to be satisfied with the brand, and vice versa. Besides posting record U.S. sales in 2019, Porsche ranked No. 1 in two key J.D. Power studies that reflect well on customers' dealership experience: the 2019 Customer Service Index and the 2019 Sales Satisfaction Index.
Areas for improvement include captive Porsche Financial Services, which offers retail and lease incentives but not floorplan or capital improvement financing, DiStanislao said. In addition, he said, dealers are lamenting that Porsche Cars North America killed its popular co-op advertising support until further notice to pay for Super Bowl advertising for the new Taycan.
On the other hand, DiStanislao, 59, is enthusiastic about the Taycan, Porsche's first electric vehicle, which boasts knock-your-socks-off performance and styling. U.S. retail sales of the Taycan began in December. Overall, Porsche posted U.S. sales of 61,568 in 2019, up 7.6 percent from the year earlier. It was the brand's 10th consecutive year of growth in the U.S. and eighth record year in a row.
Special Correspondent Jim Henry interviewed DiStanislao. The following are edited excerpts from two interviews plus follow-up emails.
Q: How was 2019 for you and for Porsche in general?
A: All in all, 2019 was a good year, a stable, consistent year. Sales are up, and Porsche dealers are profitable. Porsche [dealership values] are the highest in the industry, and their scores are the highest in J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction and CSI. Porsche is riding the crest of this great wave in dealer-manufacturer relationships.