Of course, the Boxster precipitated the 911’s switch to water cooling, a big break with Porsche tradition, for the 996-generation model. “The 996 911 took off extremely well from day one, but for some diehards – and I count myself as a bit of a diehard – the end of air cooling was the end of an era,” remembers Ian. “But then look back to the 911 replacing the 356: some people said it was too big!”
The Boxster’s strong sales helped Parker & Parker concentrate purely on Porsche for the first time in 1997, and in 2000 it moved to a slicker new site round the corner from the three converted cottages in time for the Cayenne SUV to supercharge sales once more. Overall, annual new sales have hovered around the 200 mark in recent years, alongside 100 or so used sales, with strong return trade hidden in the figures.
“Aftersales is key and we have a real variety of customers – some could buy 10 cars at once, others have saved all their life to own a Porsche – but if you don’t look after them, they don’t come back,” says Ian. “You have to first think about how you’d like to be treated, perhaps in a first-class hotel or restaurant. It’s easy to talk about it, but you can only do it with the right attitude and a strong team.” Seven years ago, with the Cayenne, Cayman and Panamera well established and the Macan SUV incoming, Ian realised another move was inevitable and settled on an all-new site in 2016. Today, much of the £5 million building work is complete.
It’s an impressively modern building in the UFO/F1 motorhome style, three times the size of today’s dealership, equipped with all the latest charging infrastructure and with room for future expansion.
Sixteen miles south of the dealer’s current location, it can no longer be sensibly called Porsche Centre Kendal. Instead, it’s Porsche Centre South Lakes. Just a slip road and roundabout off junction 35 of the M6, it’s perfectly placed to snare moneyed day trippers heading for the Lakes.
The plan is to open in July 2021 and, over the following two years, Ian will gradually hand the baton to son Simon, who’s been in the business for 14 years after joining from uni. He’ll ultimately become centre principal.