Porsche rolls out search platform for its US used-car inventory

Porsche Cars North America has launched a new online platform called Porsche Finder that lets customers search for used vehicles across its dealership network, the latest step by the automaker to create an online marketplace.

The new platform, which was developed by the automaker’s Porsche Digital subsidiary and PCNA, enables customers to search by vehicle model and generation and includes additional filters for price, equipment and packages, as well as interior and exterior vehicle colors.

For now, customers can only search for pre-owned and Certified Pre-Owned vehicles using the new Porsche Finder tool. Once users find that 911 GT2 RS, Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo, Macan crossover or all-electric Taycan they’re looking for, they are directed to contact the specific Porsche dealership.

Porsche Cars North America has a bigger aim than just creating a nationwide search feature. Porsche Finder is part of a broader strategy to create a one-stop online shop where customers can complete the entire process of finding, buying and financing a vehicle, PCNA CEO Klaus Zellmer said in a recent interview.

“We want to have a seamless e-commerce ecosystem for everything Porsche — that’s the long-term vision,” Zellmer said, adding that this will eventually include the ability for customers to trade in their vehicle and complete the financing, insurance and final web signature.

The company has already made some headway. In October, Porsche starting selling new and used vehicles online in the U.S. through a pilot program that initially involved 26 of the 192 dealerships in the country. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, dealerships have jumped at the chance to be included. One-third of Porsche dealerships in the U.S. will be a part of the digital pilot program by June, according to Zellmer.

For Tesla owners, which has only conducted direct online sales and doesn’t have a dealership network, the prospect of creating a digital marketplace to buy a vehicle might seem obvious, and even quaint. But for Porsche customers, visiting a showroom and getting behind the wheel of a 911 or Cayenne is a long-standing part of the buying experience.

Porsche Digital was working on this search platform before COVID-19 swept across the globe, upending industries and changing the way consumers shopped. The pandemic has confirmed Porsche’s move toward e-commerce, Zellmer said.

“It just underlines how important this digital direction is for our business,” Zellmer said “Even though we pride ourselves to be a brand that is all about the visceral experience, we also have to respect our customers’ wishes who want to look for a Porsche — and pick from the whole variety in the United States — from their iPad.”