“Our vision was, and still is, to be at the cutting edge of automotive retail…”John Cappella, Managing Director, Porsche Centre North Toronto
Some of the most exciting and pivotal parts of your Porsche ownership experience transpire at the dealership. You spend nights lying awake, imagining how it will feel to lower yourself into the driver seat for the first time, to breathe in the smells of the new, supple leather, to run your fingers over the unfamiliar, exotic contours, and to experience the guttural, angry vibrations of the car’s first cold start in the dealership. You visualize the bright glow of your Porsche’s lights coming to life, and the car’s glossy, unsullied body slowly creeping away as your sales executivecarefully inches it onto the pavement for the very first time.
Taking possession of a Porsche, like driving one, is far more than an everyday errand. It’s a highly-anticipated event. An experience. Toronto’s newest Porsche dealership, Porsche Centre North Toronto (“PCNT”), understands this philosophy, and the PCNT team delivers an experience befitting Porsche.
During his tenure as Director, Network Development for Porsche Cars Canada, Cappella identified Toronto, with its growing population and booming Porsche sales volume, as an ideal location for a new dealership. Soon after, he was tapped to lead the ambitious project: select the site, develop it, staff it up, and manage it.
The 165 Yorkland site was chosen for its ideal location to serve clients throughout the North Toronto and surrounding area. It sits at the intersection of Toronto’s Highway 401 (East-West) and Highway 404 (North-South). “It was the first property we looked at for the project, and the last property we looked at for the project, as we knew it was the perfect location for Porsche Centre North Toronto,” Cappella explains.
“It wasn’t your typical dealership,” recalls Adriano Bernaudo, PCNT’s Marketing Manager. “We were all new, fresh faces… in a temporary office on the fourteenth floor without a showroom.”
Despite the small, temporary sales office – or, perhaps, because of it—the construction period proved to be a formative time for PCNT’s team, full of hopes, dreams, sweat, and anticipation. “It was a lot of fun [and]… a great opportunity for us… to bond and get to know one another…” admitted Emilov. “This was our new family to be, so it was a great opportunity to share some experiences, learn together, grow together, and become that much stronger,” Emilov continues. “It’s made us who we are today and certainly makes us appreciate where we are today.”
Although that temporary location lacked a showroom and most of the other creature comforts that today’s magnificent complex boasts, John and his hand-picked team were still able to attract new customers and sell. “Essentially, we all came together as a team, and we started to bond as a team… and we had customers come and pre-order their first Porsches there,” recalls Bernaudo.
The construction project was not without challenges. The group had to battle record rainfall, flooding, and address the various new resultant challenges. But, the team buckled down and persevered: “We were Eager to open,” explains Capella, “so we worked very, very hard to solve those problems… to get the project open as quickly as we could.”
“Our first day was incredibly exciting… the entire team pitched in to wash all of the cars that we had in inventory and start setting up all of our systems and processes to open up the very next day,” Cappella recalls. “We had four cars in our inventory… and we actually ended up selling four cars on that very first day.”
That day, the PCNT team bore witness to the culmination of years of planning and work finally coming together exactly as intended: “Looking around that day, we certainly felt a great sense of pride that this amazing project had been completed … it truly did meet our expectations in terms of what we wanted from this dealership.”
Moreover, PCNT houses an impressive, state-of-the-art service area, featuring seventeen spotless service bays. Like a well-maintained navy vessel, the entire service area is completely scrubbed every night. The dealership’s design incorporates a wide window into the service area much like the kitchen view one might experience at a Michelin Star restaurant. Customers can enjoy a beverage from the Carrera Café while witnessing the technicians meticulously at work.
Most notable, however, beyond the impressive showroom, inventory and service department, is the team at PCNT. John leads by example. He is not the type of person who hides behind his desk with his door closed. Rather, no matter the time or occasion, you will likely notice John out on the floor, talking to customers, making sure the property is operating at peak levels. John’s leadership ripples down through his team. From managers to sales executives, technicians to receptionists, PCNT’s staff is warm, professional, available, personable, and knowledgeable. “Many people have asked me: what makes us so unique? It’s our people,” John explains. “We have put together a diverse and passionate group of people that together have decades of experience and are able to adapt to the fast-changing retail automotive landscape.”
The incredible success of PCNT’s opening day proved to portend great prosperity for the year to follow. “While there was no shortage of obstacles, the end result has been great success,” admits Cappella. PCNT recently delivered its one-thousandth new Porsche and exceeded all of its expectations for the 2018. On February 6, 2019 PCNT was awarded the prestigious Premier Dealer Award.
We took delivery of one of Canada’s first Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrids from PCNT. As such, we had the pleasure of experiencing first-hand the full PCNT treatment, from order through to pick up and subsequent track day event.
Victor, our sales executive, and Muhammad, the on-site “Porsche Pro,” were extremely patient in answering all of our questions, guiding us through our car’s many features, and helping us to personalize our car according to all of our preferences.
Add to these features a full suite of digital amenities and aides that most Porsche owners have come to expect in this age (e.g. Apple Car Play, navigation integrating Google Earth, satellite radio, driving efficiency screens, multi-function steering wheel, multi-directional LED headlights with auto-adjusting high-beams, auto-dimming rear-view and side-view mirrors…), and you get a car that you can live in luxuriously year-round. This E-Hybrid can also run entirely on silent, electric energy for up to 35 kilometers on a single charge in Electric mode.
But, don’t be fooled. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is no limousine. In fact, this is among the fastest cars that Porsche produces. Its driving technology comes largely from the Porsche 918 hyper-car. The Turbo S E-Hybrid’s electric motor produces 134 horsepower, and its V-8 twin turbo petrol engine generates an additional 550 horses through a new eight-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) system, combining to over 680 horsepower with a maximum torque of 626 lb-ft. Porsche claims that the car can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and achieve a top speed of 310 km/h. On the track (more below) it can overtake 911s weighing fractions of the Panamera’s weight. And the fadeless stopping power of the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake carbon-fibre reinforced ceramic brake discs never fail to impress.
“From the vehicle delivery experience, to the numerous track-days we make available to our customers, our goal is to go beyond selling and servicing vehicles – we want to build a community.”
-John Cappella, Managing Director, Porsche Centre North Toronto
All drivers began the day with an introduction and high-level overview of the track, the do’s and don’ts. The experienced driver group then took to the track for a few warm-up laps and a twenty-minute driving session. Advanced drivers were free to pass each other in designated passing zones.
Beginner and intermediate drivers followed in two subsequent groups, each on the track for twenty minutes. Unlike the advanced group, these two groups drove in ‘lead-follow’ formations. A Porsche driving instructor set the pace in the lead position, with three to four participants following behind, matching his speed and line. Porsche placed a radio in each participant’s car through which the instructor explained what the drivers should do at each point along the course. Throughout each twenty-minute session, the instructor directed the drivers to change positions in the pack so that each driver would have a chance in each position. As the day progressed, the lead car’s speed increased permitting drivers to push their cars closer to their limits.
In most cars, it is advisable to switch off air conditioning on a race track so as not to sap energy from the engine that could otherwise contribute to performance. Not so on modern Porsche models! The car will automatically reduce power to the A/C if it needs that power for performance. The result? A much more comfortable track experience.
“Our vision was, and still is, to be at the cutting edge of automotive retail. We continuously look for innovative ways to sell and service our products and deliver the absolute best customer experience. Our mission is to build extraordinary long-term relationships through personal, friendly and fascinating experiences, one customer and one employee at a time.”
We have never attributed the “TrackWorthy” description to a dealership — usually, we reserve that for cars. However, there is no question that Porsche Centre North Toronto deserves our designation. PCNT delivers an exceptional experience from browsing, to ordering, to delivery, to service, and beyond to customer events. If you are in the market for a Porsche, or you are a Porsche enthusiast, stop in at 165 Yorkland Boulevard. You won’t be disappointed.
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