Ultimate European Road Trip, Part One: the Car and the Plan

MacanPhoto credit – Porsche Collection – Web Page

We were planning a return trip to Europe in 2015 and it was also time for us to purchase a new car. We narrowed the field of possible car manufacturers down to four and coincidentally all of them were built in Germany.  So we thought how cool would it be to actually order a car from a local dealer and pick it up in Europe for an extended road trip… the trip of a life time.

Selecting a New Car

We were most interested in finding an exciting car to drive and a real value for the money.  Over a four month period we did a great deal of research, showroom visits, and most importantly it came down to the test drive experience.  The final four were the Porsche Macan S, Mercedes Benz GLK350/ML350, Audi Q5/SQ5 3.0 TFSI and the BMW X3/X5.  Surprisingly the four contenders all priced out in a narrow band width when configured with comparable features.

Choosing a European Delivery Plan

They all had comparable European delivery packages with some airline discounts, hotel stays, taxi vouchers, museum passes, factory tours, souvenir photos, and gift shop credits.  Interestingly when it came down to offering discounts on the actual vehicle the story got a little different as Porsche did not offer a discount, but Mercedes, Audi and BMW did ranging from 5% – 7% off MSRP.

But there was something about the Porsche European Delivery Program that made it stand out from the others in our mind.  It is a really well prepared presentation, and focused on you the driver and the adventure that awaits you in Germany… check it out:  http://www.porsche.com/usa/eventsandracing/europeandelivery/

The Winning Vehicle and European Delivery Program

In our final analysis it was hands down the Porsche Macan S. The exciting body style of a crossover and an exceptional interior design with all of the nice-to-have items set the car head and shoulders above the other competition.  The test drive put the icing on the cake… this is a performance vehicle in a crossover body that stirs the soul of any car enthusiast.

Securing a Delivery Date

The car/manufacturer decision is now behind us and the fun of actually building a car goes into high gear (no pun intended).  Using their configurator tool you can build “your car” and add the accessories.  This tweaking process goes on for a period of time until the “final” version is completed.

As a side note, the sales team assisted throughout the process and made a few good suggestions along the way.  Refreshingly their contributions were helpful and there was not any up selling.

The demand for this model is pretty strong and with a global production set at only 50,000 units we had to make our commitment sooner rather than later.  Our next step took place in late February when we signed a document and put down a relatively small deposit in order to secure a slot in their production planning process.

Requesting a delivery date in early September could get a little tricky since the factory closes down for six weeks in the summer… the entire month of August to be exact.  We are planners and not being able to even book our flights was getting very, very frustrating.  Maybe we should just forget this romantic idea and just simply accept delivery in the States?

As things have a tendency to work out… and patience prevailed… by early April we were confirmed in the production queue for an early September delivery date.  Let the planning begin!

Be Careful for what you Ask For

So we asked for a delivery date in early September… perhaps the 2nd.  Our logic was to have the car definitely ready in the first week of the month.  We really figured on a pickup date of the 4th all along and they can simply keep it in the factory for a few days… or so we thought… wrong!

We soon learned that when dealing with Porsche you will get amazingly accurate information exchanges and a requested delivery date (if at all possible) will be set in stone.  So it was… more precisely, it will be ready for us on the 2nd at 8:30 AM at the Zuffenhausen factory in Stuttgart so please be there at 8:15 AM.

Oops we now have a logistics problem as we arrive in Stuttgart at around 9:00 AM on the 2nd.  So after bugging them (the dealership sales team and the European Delivery Program team) for the confirmation of a date we now wanted a revised date!   Once again they came through and we re-established the new date of the 4th.  On the surface you say it is no big deal to change the date… but it is a big deal.

Porsche just doesn’t give you the keys and wish you safe travels… there is a well thought out procedure in place and there are limited number of time slots available for any given day.  Their intent is to provide you with a “heart pounding – straight from the factory” experience and not a “here you go, have a nice day.”

The Documentation Packet Arrives

About thirty days before the car was to be delivered, the final paperwork was executed and funds exchange hands as the vehicle must be paid for by either a lease, financed, or a cash transaction as a final step in the procurement.

So after we completed this milestone there was a tendency to think… what the heck did we just do?  But alas, there was also a package waiting for us at the dealership and its content spun us back up to the anticipation and excitement levels we experienced from the beginning of this adventure.

The gift is a handsome leather binder containing the car’s “birth certificate” window decal, complete with VIN numbers and a listing of all the options that you built in the final configuration.  Along with a thank you letter, all the hotel details, taxi vouchers, “European Delivery” gate badges to get access to the center, “Macan Quick Start Guide”, Factory Collection book, a driving tour guide book produced by the Porsche Travel Club, and they even included a special discount for the “Porsche Experience Center” in Atlanta.

We were expecting an envelope with the hotel and taxi vouchers… Porsche continues to surprise us with a first class act and a significant customer appreciation embrace.

In Summary – Hooked

This vehicle is for a driver… their designs maximize the driving experience… your pulse rate increases in the test drive sessions and you make the decision… “I want this car”.   I do not need another car… I just want a Porsche!  Yes, we are hooked!

Please follow us as we embark on the Ultimate European Road Trip… Part Two of the series:  The Itinerary.

  

After all, what is the hurry… be inspired.

© Inspired Travel Itineraries with Bob and Janice Kollar

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