Celebrating Thirty Years in Central Oregon
Carrera Motors of Bend is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, providing Central Oregon with an enviable array of the latest engineering marvels fresh from the factories of Porsche, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen.
Carrera President Dan Horton and Chair Tom Anderson built the dealership up over the past three decades, first acquiring Mid-Oregon Motors, a Volkswagen and Peugeot outlet back in 1982, subject to getting a Porsche franchise. Today, their showroom floors gleam with the latest models and offerings, from touring sedans and convertibles, to race-bred coupes and stylish SUVs pulsing with performance motors evolved from the legendary racetracks of Europe.
“We added the BMW franchise from Dave Holt in 1986 and the four major brands have been together since 1986,” said Anderson. “This Spring we are opening a satellite Carrera Motors in Medford, as we speak. We’ll do both new and used cars, as well as rentals as part of the operation, including a full German-brand service center for our Central Oregon clients. Right now we’re open for business but more staffing is going on and we plan to have our grand opening the middle of June.”
Porsche is a difficult franchise to be granted and the company is very select on who and where its automobiles are sold. For nearly 65 years, the name Porsche has struck fear in the minds of racing foes and flutter in the hearts of car aficionados of all ages. Representing the pinnacle of fine automotive engineering, the company was founded in 1948 by father and son Ferdinand and Ferry Porsche.
“There are only 190 Porsche dealerships in the whole country and they believe in exclusivity,” he said. “They are not a mass producer of commodity cars, but a smaller, niche company that builds refined sports cars to a select market. They’ve recently added touring cars and an SUV to their lineup that are performing very well. Sports cars are their love and passion and I like to believe they make cars that make people smile.”
“Porsche is a fascinating company with a dominant racing pedigree,” he said. “And they don’t tend to be a large scale auto manufacturer like Toyota, Chevrolet or Ford. That is not their world. They don’t need major representation and have extraordinarily high standards in terms of service, sales and equipment. For the most part they are averse to new dealerships so being approved for a new franchise is not an easy thing. There aren’t too many of us and we’ve been here for a long time.”
According to Anderson’s perception, the recent recession devastated the overall retail automotive industry in America, but hope is on the horizon.
“We went from seventeen million total cars sold in the U.S in 2006 all the way down to ten million in 2009 at the bottom during the crash. But it is coming back stronger and more constructive than the rest of the economy but still well below its heyday.
European manufacturers didn’t see the devastation or experience the magnitude of loss like GM and Chrysler, so we were somewhat fortunate. Now three or four years later we’re seeing wonderful new products coming out so my hat’s off to Porsche for not reducing their new product development and design. They kept a high level of capital investment in the bad times and now we’re seeing strong demand. That’s also true with the BMW, Volkswagen and Audi brands.”
Porsche currently markets five models: the 911 Carrera, the Boxster and the Cayman. The sleek Cayenne SUV was born in 2007 and was followed by the new Panamera luxury sedan in 2010.
“The innovations coming out in the quality side of the industry is amazing right now,” he added. “These German companies have always been product focused.”
Anderson reminds us that in the manufacturing side of the industry, especially in the European brands, business is booming. “The BMW X3, X5 and X6 sports utility vehicles are all produced at the Spartansburg, South Carolina plant. And 100 percent of the Volkswagen Passats are produced in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It’s a neat thing to see, especially when all you read about is the decline of auto production and diminishing United Auto Workers in this country and realize how huge the demand is for exports. It’s expanding dramatically and it’s very impressive. I think the general public is not aware of that and it doesn’t get much press.”
Where is it all going? Anderson thinks it’s going to be a strong year for Carrera Motors and the rest of the industry.
“All the planets are aligned right now,” he joked. “You’ve got low interest rates at the banks and a healthy lending environment, coupled with an aging fleet out there with a slowly improving economy and some sensational new products showing up. There’s been some tremendous response to the new cars so we’re very positive and excited.”
Carrera Motors is located at 1045 SE 3rd. St. in Bend. Visit them online at www.carreramotors.com or call 541-382-1711.