Porsche's Asia Pacific business unit has been quite a success as markets like Taiwan, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam leading its tremendous growth with 5,390 vehicles delivered in 2017. This year, Martin Limpert, who is now reassigned to head the Porsche's newly established Taiwan subsidiary as CEO, hands the wheel over to Arthur Willmann.
Before you go thinking that Willmann will just be another suit to handle the business, the young executive may just be as nuts about the Porsche brand as you. He actually drove himself to Sepang in a 718 Cayman S from Singapore.
Willmann started with the brand as an intern, a requisite for his Business Administration and Economics course at the University of Hohenheim. He was later asked to work for the company after his two year stint, where he started in Porsche AG's Digital Marketing division. He revealed that he was the one who convinced his boss that Porsche should start engaging customers on Facebook with its own brand page in 2009.
“I had to personally engage customers on Facebook during my spare time, during the early years,” he confessed.
His commitment has definitely paid off.
Porsche was the fastest automotive brand to achieve 1 million fans on the social network by 2011. They put the names of all their 1 million fans on a one-off 911 GT3R hybrid as a special livery.
In 2013, it gathered all its 5 million Facebook fans to come up with a special one-off Porsche 911. Through a special campaign, it allowed its fans to spec their 'dream' car. The result - a 911 Carrera 4S finished in Aqua Blue metallic, with white 20-inch wheels and an Aerokit package.
After spending nearly a decade at the Porsche headquarters in Germany handling various marketing positions, he has now been assigned to head its Asia Pacific business unit as Managing Director. He is no stranger to the region as his last three years in Germany were spent as a Director for Asia Pacific, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
Willmann's new challenge will be to strengthen the brand experience across 12 markets in the region as buyer behavior gets more and more dynamic. The brand itself has taken on new challenges as it embarks into electrification, digitalization and connectivity.
The coming years will definitely see a change in how customers engage with cars. As younger customers embrace new digital trends of buying cars and new ownership experiences such car subscription, Willmann believes that the Porsche brand and himself are ready for this change.
He believes the brand will always stay true to its roots despite new innovations, and that enthusiasts, current and future customers will always want to experience our cars first hand. One of their latest regional programs is the Porsche Driving Experience at the Sepang Circuit, a more unified version of its previous world road show programs where people get to fully experience the cars on an ex-F1 circuit.
"This is why we are heavily invest and expand our driving experience activities to provide a tangible element to the brand experience," said Willmann.