For decades, Porsche has told us that “There Is No Substitute” for its cars. Two generations have grown up with that mantra. The slogan is etched into the subconscious of every car enthusiast. We all know that if you say something enough times, people will believe it. I believe it. And frankly, there really is no other car that is quite like a Porsche. Until Nick Murray bought a 911 in 2013 …
After saving up for many years, Nick Murray was finally able to purchase the car of his dreams, a Porsche 911 Carrera S. The purchase was made in June 2013, and since then everything that could possible go wrong with the car, went wrong. There was no doubt that he purchased a lemon.
After spending more than 60 days being serviced, nothing had changed, and his problems just continued. He began arbitration with Porsche and asked for either his full purchase price back or an exact replacement. The company countered with a portion of what the car was worth, based on its mileage. Murray refused and turned to YouTube watchers for help by recording the various problems he’d been experiencing. He asked them to spread the word, and the video went viral with 1.9 million views as of today.
Supporters posted his video multiple times on Porsche’s Facebook and Twitter sites.
The Porsche 911
The Porsche 911 was launched in 1963, and has the longest production run of any sports car in the world. It’s estimated that over 95% of 911s are still on the road today, which explains why Porsche aficionados speak of the “never-ending story”. But not Nick Murray. In 2011 Porsche made a $2.6 bn profit on the back of 116,978 unit sales. Nick Murray’s Porsche was one of those sales — the one that went wrong. And still they refused to refund or replace.
The Porsche brand
What’s the BIG problem here? Well, a brand promise is a promise made and a promise KEPT, and Porsche is not keeping its promise to Nick Murray.
Porsche’s brand vision is, “To be the number one company in terms of sales and after sales customer service”. Three of its brand values are “Performance”, “Functionality”, and “Everyday Usability”. Porsche’s business strategy starts with the statement, “The focus of our company has always been on people – whether it’s our customers or employees.”
And one of the four pillars of their value-creating growth model is, “Increase customer enthusiasm by providing a unique purchasing and ownership experience.” Go figure. Because if Porsche did walk its own talk, it would have immediately replaced or refunded Nick Murray’s 911.
Footnote: The “consumer power” of social media forced Porsche to back down — they offered to buy back Nick’s car at full price or give him an exact replacement for it.