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Porsche celebrates the 70th anniversary of the factory collection program in Zuffenhausen

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Photos courtesy Porsche

Factory delivery programs are rapidly going the way of the manual transmission. For Americans, it was once a way to enjoy the experience of picking up a new car at the factory and saving enough money to enjoy a modest European vacation. BMW became the latest killjoy when it recently announced that it was discontinuing European delivery for American customers. Porsche AG on the other hand remains committed to offering this experience to its North American customers and others, and this month, marks the 70th anniversary of its revered factory collection program.

The story started seven decades ago, on May 26, 1950, at Werks 1, in Zuffenhausen, when Ottomar Dominick was the first customer to collect a new Porsche at the factory (assembly of the 356 had only recently moved back to Stuttgart). Dominick’s car, a Fish Silver split-window 356 coupe, SN 5001 formed the start of an unbroken line of factory deliveries that extends to Florian Böhme, who collected his new Taycan on February 21, 2020, just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic temporarily shut down car production.


Above: Ottomar Domnick (left).

On hand for the first delivery was none other than Herbert Linge. Before the celebratory handover, Ottomar Domnick took the passenger seat in his Porsche 356 next to Linge, who had invited him to take a final test run. Herbert Linge started his training at Porsche KG in April 1943 and was one of the first mechanics to be employed after Porsche returned from Gmünd in Austria at the end of 1949. “I was 14 years old when I started work at the first Porsche training workshop. In those days, we were six mechanics and two technical draftsmen. Ferdinand Porsche often walked past our workshop with important guests in tow. He would always stop to say hello while keeping his guests briefly waiting. That’s something I’ll never forget.”

The now 91-year-old  Linge clearly remembers every car collection at the factory. “When Ottomar Domnick collected his Porsche 356, he really celebrated the occasion. But he had been coming to the factory every day anyway to see how far on we were with the work. Even Ferry Porsche briefly dropped in when the doctor was presented with his sports car.” 

Factory collection at the Porsche headquarters remains a special experience for customers and their family, (there’s even a small Porsche-themed play area for children). “The most exciting aspect of this first encounter is that the customer has never actually seen the car before,” explains Tobias Donnevert, Head of Factory Collection and Sales Operations Personalisation. “The customer has configured the car of his choice in the Porsche Centre or together with the customer service of the Porsche Exclusive Manufacture department and has only seen the color combinations on photos or tiles. So when he collects his personal Porsche, he is seeing it for the very first time. This is a very special moment, reserved exclusively for the customer at the beginning of the handover.” 


Above: The delivery area of the Leipzig factory completed as of 2001.

Later in the 1950s, PCA began to play a large role in the development of the factory collection program with the club organizing regular trips to Stuttgart to collect new 356s at the factory. At the plant in Zuffenhausen, Tobias Donnevert and his team welcome around 20 customers every day who came to collect their new cars. In 2019, there was a total of 2,500 customers and almost 3,000 in Leipzig. Before collecting their car, customers are also invited to take a tour of the factory and see, among other things, how the Porsche 911 is manufactured in Zuffenhausen.  For those who are not able to travel to Germany, there remains the option for customers to collect their new cars at the Porsche Experience Centers in Atlanta and Los Angeles.

 

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