It’s not everyday that you get a guided tour of an authorised Porsche service center’s work area with an opportunity to see live the various standards that have been set at work in one of the most professional environments of a service center.<b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b><b></b>
The Porsche brand needs no introduction to the well-oiled and properly-geared petrol heads. Though once regarded as the biggest of the Mickey Mouse carmakers, the brand has turned itself into a money-making machine with products that appeal to wide walks of motorists whilst maintaining the performance orientation of the marque.
As we mentioned in the teaser article, being a premium sports car maker brings with it certain standards and expectations that the clientele will come to expect and following the marque’s local interests being acquired recently by the Sime Darby Motors Group, a full upgrading of the service and repair facilities to the tune of RM1million was carried out to bring the Porsche center up to par.
Not only does a Porsche need more TLC than your average daily commuter but it requires special equipment for some of the maintenance and repairing work to be carried out. Furthermore, even the technicians need to be specially trained in order to handle a Porsche and its various systems and parts.
The tour started off by introducing us to the individual service bays concept that the center employs, meaning that each service bay is assigned a specific technician. Even the technicians are trained according to three different levels, with only the highest rated, a gold-level technician, being allowed to work on the high-voltage Porsche hybrid models.
Considering that the hybrid vehicles, such as the 2011 Cayenne Hybrid that was being tended to, are as much electrical products as they are petrol-burning vehicles, the technicians has to be properly trained to handle the massive currents flowing through the hybrid drivetrain.
Each service bay has also been equipped with a laptop that is directly hooked up directly to the Porsche Asia Pacific office in the matter of a technician coming up against a hurdle. That way, the matter can be directed to the higher-ranked techs at the Asia Pacific office. If the problem still persists, Porsche AG in Germany is also plugged in directly and can help to diagnose the problem.
Next up was the top-of-the-range Hunter Engineering Company’s wheel alignment and corner weighting system. It featured real-time corner-weighting readouts with sensitivity down to the micron. Just placing your finger on the front bumper of the car would cause an alteration in the corner weight of the car due to the pressure from your finger.
Being precision handling sports cars, keeping the wheels pointed in the right direction is as crucial as the engine firing on all cylinders. Hence, lasers are used to set the wheel alignment and keep them as accurate as possible.
Even the wheel-balancing machine was high end stuff. It had an extra roller placed on the wheel to simulate real road conditions that some of the normal wheel balancers can’t do.
Just for an added effect, the car that was on the corner-weighting machine at that time was none other than a 997 GT3RS, probably in preparation for its next track session.
Being a Porsche center, and we know we promised, a number of exotica were spotted on the floor. Without a doubt, the one that had us all straining our necks with second, third and even fourth glances was none other than a Porsche Carrera GT, single-lug wheels and all.
Nothing quite sums up the situation better than a GT3RS side by side with a Carrera GT.
Moving on then, we were showed the engine assembly room where all the engines are, naturally, assembled. The room itself is closed off from the general service area and is absolutely spotless, ensuring the engines being put together are as dust particle free as can be.
Next to the engine assembly room was a garage housing the MME Porsche RSR race car belonging to Datuk Mokhzani. As it is a sports car maker, Porsche does offer race car preparation and services to its customers, much like the maintenance of this RSR.
The final stop before the parts warehouse was the tools room, that also doubles up as the storage area for the massive and complete collection of Porsche service manuals as well as the air-conditioning servicing machines.
Once again, these aren’t your run of the mill stuff. The air-conditioning machines used to service Porsche A/C systems are top notch stuff that are specially made to suit the blowers and condensers.
Using the wrong oil for or gas can even lead to failure of the A/C system, as the tour guide explained in a case from the Philippines. A Porsche previously serviced under non-certified technicians saw the A/C blower’s oil and gas replaced by non-approved versions. After that, the car was brought into a Porsche-certified center and the gas changed there. That same machine that took in the non-approved gas was then used on other Porsche models and the resulting contamination from the non-approved gas saw the A/C systems in the other cars fail.
Following that, the use of approved and specially developed machines to service the A/C systems were adopted to avoid cross-contamination and a repeat of that case.
The last stop of the day was the parts warehouse that stored all the genuine Porsche parts to be used on the vehicles being serviced. A special computer program takes into account the amount of a certain part used over the last year or so and suggests the number of units to be kept in stock. This avoids the costly and space-wasting dilemma of overstocking.
If a part is out of stock and needs to be ordered, the order is placed directly to Porsche AG in Germany and the part will be shipped out here, with the in-between period being around eight to 11 days. In the event of the part being needed urgently, express courier services are available, cutting down the waiting period to a few days, but even the Porsche center doesn’t recommend that due to the exorbitant cost of delivery.
While many motorists here choose to purchase their Porsches through authorised channels, a large number still choose to acquire theirs by means of grey or parallel importers. As always, car manufacturers are split over the issue of servicing or repairing vehicles not brought in by them but Porsche will accept any grey imported model with open arms.
In fact, they have prepared a welcome package for parallel imported cars into the official Porsche arena. The package itself costs RM15,000 but before you dismiss it as a ploy, you receive parts worth RM15,000 in return.
It works by the owner of the parallel import bringing his Porsche to the authorised center and paying the RM15,000. Porsche will then proceed with a major 111-point service to bring the car up to the regional specifications for trouble-free motoring. The services include replacing parts like belts and recoding the ECU for local fuel and conditions.
Altogether, you receive back RM15,000 worth of parts and services, making it a very enticing deal for owners of grey imported Porsches.
The Glenmarie center includes a Porsche boutique that has been incorporated into the showroom, giving you plenty of official Porsche merchandise to drool over if you decide to drop by.
For more information, drop by the Porsche Center Glenmarie located at 26 & 28, Jalan Juruhebah U1/50, Temasya Industrial Park, Glenmarie, 40150 Shah Alam, Selangor. The center can be contacted at 03-5032 9911.
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