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“Porsche Ibérica created the first accelerator of the group worldwide in Madrid”

A conversation with Iván Burgos, Connected Car Manager for Porsche Ibérica

November 2019

After the company’s strong commitment to Madrid, with a new headquarters in the capital which hosts open innovation programs, and coinciding with the launch of its first 100% electric model, we talked with Iván Burgos, Connected Car Manager of Porsche Ibérica.

Ivan has been responsible for the company’s “Connected Car” project since 2015. This project has been integrated into Porsche’s Smart Mobility strategy, which includes open innovation initiatives of the brand based on IoT technology. In addition, Iván leads the digitalization of Porsche Ibérica as part of the company’s innovation and digital transformation strategy, called Strategy 2025.

M.I.A.: When was Porsche created and how where its beginnings in Spain?

I.B.: Porsche AG was founded 71 years ago by a restless and visionary man, Ferdinand Porsche, and his son Ferry. From the beginning it earned the reputation of an innovative company and today is part of the Volkswagen Group. Porsche has been in Spain for more than 40 years, first as an import company and since the late 1990s as Porsche Ibérica, a subsidiary of Porsche AG. There are currently 24 dealers in Spain and Portugal.

In May 2018 we inaugurated the new headquarters in Madrid, built on the same land as the old building, owned by the company. These are avant-garde facilities that reflect Porsche’s DNA very well and are a benchmark for the rest of the countries where we operate. The dealership area seeks above all to provide a unique customer experience, which he will benefit from attractive proposals at the same time as he learns about, purchases or takes his Porsche for a checkup.

M.I.A.: What role do technology and alternative energies play in Porsche’s current business model?

I.B.: It is clear that the technological change we are experiencing has an effect not only economic activity, but also and very directly on citizens, as it offers them many more options, which in turn determines their behavior. Without a doubt, we are witnessing a profound transformation that is reflected in the automobile sector, with trends associated with the digital revolution. Remote robotized jobs, decision making, product design and strategies to be followed in the automotive field are influenced by digital technology and sustainable mobility.

Consumers, aware of their responsibility to reduce emissions, now choose less polluting technologies based on electrification, which means a significant change in their habits. Based on this, a social, industrial and technological convergence is created that will generate multiplier growth.

Porsche has always been an avant-garde company, capable of responding quickly to social demands. Therefore, in 2016, a plan called Strategy 2025 was launched, which aims at a transversal change in all areas of the company to adapt to the new times. The plan covers five major themes: organization, connectivity, digitalization, electromobility and new forms of commercialization. Each market identifies transforming factors and implements new ideas to work on. In this environment, for example, Porsche Ibérica wants social networks to help maintain the brand’s reputation and transmit its values, as well as the steps that are being taken on the road to the future.

M.I.A.: How do these changes in the product and its commercialization take shape?

I.B.: Porsche wants 50% of the vehicles sold in 2025 to be electric or hybrid and maybe even exceed this figure. New marketing formulas are also being tested, such as Porsche Passport, Porsche Drive or Porsche 360, which try to adapt to customers new habits and needs.

Porsche manufactures its largest volume models at the Leipzig plant, while the most iconic cars are still produced in Stuttgart. Porsche’s commitment to the electric vehicle can already be seen in the Taycan, the first 100% electric model of the brand that will be available later this year. In addition, until 2022 Porsche will invest six billion euros in electric mobility, a good part of which is destined to modernizing and digitizing these production centers so that they are part of what we call Industry 4.0

M.I.A.: As a luxury sports vehicle company, how do you see mobility trends for big cities?

I.B.: Porsche has a team that constantly studies the trends that are emerging throughout the world. The differences between some places and others are remarkable and these must also be taken into account. For example, Oslo, the city where more electric cars are sold in the world and in which legislators are so involved in the new mobility that they do not even charge taxes for parking on the street, is very different to Madrid, a capital that only now is beginning to take its first steps in a deep and necessary transformation.

In this sense, regulatory changes in cities condition the demand for vehicles, although the consumer has the last word. Porsche, as a company committed to society, backs a change in the legislation on mobility and is committed to compliance with the environmental sustainability parameters that derive from a broad agreement between all the stakeholders involved.

M.I.A.: How important are initiatives such as Porsche Accelerator and Porsche Smart Mobility Lab, developed in Madrid?

I.B.: In 2017 Porsche Ibérica created the Porsche Accelerator program, a project accelerator in the field of digital transformation. The audacity of our subsidiary was to think that a multinational such as Porsche, with more than 30,000 employees and with complex and highly documented processes, required combining these with other types of more agile, transversal and collaborative procedures that would involve other types of companies and industries.

One way to do this was to accelerate startups that generate knowledge and put Porsche in touch with the innovative ecosystem. This project, completed in July 2018, was 80% funded by Porsche Digital, a Porsche AG startup investment vehicle, but without its own specific program. In this way, Porsche Ibérica created the first accelerator of the group worldwide.

Based on the results of this initiative, we developed Porsche Smart Mobility Lab, an innovation laboratory for internal transformation, the dissemination of activities, the resolution of problems through challenges presented to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the integration of clients and investors. This is also an initiative that Porsche has led from Madrid. As a result, some startups will become suppliers of Porsche Ibérica and even suppliers of the group in Europe.

M.I.A.: Can you tell us more in detail how Porsche’s Smart Mobility Lab works?

I.B.: Porsche’s Smart Mobility Lab is based around the following activities:

– Startup scouting, with which Porsche Ibérica presents several problems a year to the innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem and asks candidates to solve them. It is a long process, but if an innovative solution is found, Porsche becomes a customer of this startup and it could become a global provider.

– Informative talks at our Madrid headquarters on topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, assistance, e-sports, etc.

– An Investment Club so that startups that have undergone successive scoutings and become Porsche suppliers, increase their value. We put them in touch with investors, some of whom may be our own clients.

– Organization of visits to relevant forums and innovation hubs. We have been to Israel and attend Slush, Epic Center and other key events.

50% of the program is still to be developed and we intend to maintain and improve it. We want to increase its relevance in other ecosystems and participate in more events.

The Lab is a local initiative that expounds on the 2025 digital strategy and complements the company’s own tactical and operational objectives, profitability and customer satisfaction. Porsche Smart Mobility Lab is a project that tries to cross borders through early access to technology to attain the company’s mindset globally, a strategic objective that provides immediate solutions.