As the Official Automotive Partner of the recent SMBC Singapore Open, we sit down with Mr Henrik Dreier, General Manager – Singapore, Porsche Asia Pacific and find out more about the two-year partnership and his interesting relationship with golf.
GV: Let’s start with a brief introduction of yourself and your highlights working at Porsche.
HD: I’ve been with Porsche for over 20 years and of which, 15 of them have been here in Singapore.
I spent my initial years with Porsche in Stuttgart, with the marketing headquarters where my responsibilities ranged from online and direct marketing to e-business. It was there that I received the opportunity to be the Marketing Director of the Asia Pacific Region which I accepted in 2004. As of 2011, I’ve been the General Manager for the Singapore market.
What has the success of the brand been like since Porsche arrived in Singapore?
In general, there has been a strong development here which ties into why Porsche established an office in Singapore as the regional hub for the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, the business environment here is ideal and along with the region, everything from sales volume to automotive brand development have increased tremendously.
Important question, do you play golf?
I don’t play golf….but I have spent a lot of my time, months if not years on golf courses. It’s a little bit strange because my parents were playing golf and I used to join them frequently for their weekend games. But I never really picked it up from there.
However, I can say that I’ve built a golf course. Back when I was a student and as a way to earn some extra cash during the holidays, I worked on the construction of a golf course alongside the sons of the teaching professionals in the area. The name of the golf club was Schwoebber Golf Club near Hamelin, Germany and they have two 18 hole courses.
I know golf, I just don’t know why but I never picked it up for myself although I find it to be a really interesting sport but requires a lot of time and dedication to be playing at a certain level.
What is your go-to sport nowadays?
I still like watching golf though. Last year, I visited the Porsche European Open and it was really fantastic to see how it was organised and also because by that point of time, we were already lined up to partner with the SMBC Singapore Open in the following year so it was interesting to see the execution of an event of that scale, and the timing was perfect.
Building on that, what was the lead up to the SMBC Singapore Open like?
It was a natural development for Porsche as sport is in our DNA and as a sports car manufacturer, motorsport is definitely our key activity. In the world of motorsport, we are the largest race car manufacturer in the world, with over 30,000 victories on the track.
There’s also women’s tennis which Porsche has been involved in for over 40 years since 1978.
When Porsche became the title sponsor for the WTA Race to Singapore, is was the perfect synergy for us as an automotive sponsor.
So there’s motorsports and tennis, but the third sport would have to be golf.
Porsche has supported the game on both professional and amateur levels at tournaments such as those on the European Tour, the Porsche Golf Cup and the Porsche Generations Open, to name a few.
We have also launched Porsche Golf Circle, a mobile application where our customers can become a member and be invited to golf events all over the world. However, at the moment, the app has yet to be launched here in Singapore.
Many of our customers enjoy the sport and the app is a great platform to host the customers in an exclusive environment and is also a great way to showcase our product.
Have there been any Porsche golf events here?
There have been a few over the years but the SMBC Singapore Open is by far the biggest and most internationally renowned and we are proud to be the official automotive partner.
What did the partnership entail for Porsche and for the SMBC Singapore Open?
To begin with, Porsche provided 20 event vehicles consisting of different variations of the new Cayenne and Panamera to chauffer the players and officials around. They need space and our 4-5 seater cars have adequate space to carry a couple of golf bags.
Our cars were also on display, with the first one right at the main entrance – the brand new Porsche Cayenne – to welcome guest and players. Over at the suites, there was a Porsche Panamera on display just outside.
At the 17th, we had the 911 GT3 RS which was showcased at the recent Singapore Motorshow and is very visible with its outstanding lime green colour.
At the 13th and 16th, we set up ball speed trackers which was a great idea as it reflects Porsche’s relationship with speed.
Visitors to the SMBC Singapore Open also had the chance to win exclusive Porsche golf balls at the golf simulator we had at the carnival area.
During the five year partnership with the WTA, what were the highlights for you?
The WTA was our first involvement with an event of that scale here and it was an extremely good experience, we loved it.
As an automotive partner, the WTA was a great platform for us to showcase our brand, the vehicles, and immense visibility with such a renowned event.
We both share the sports DNA, the same as we do for golf, with traits such as foresight and courage to be the very best in the field.
We also had our brand ambassador Angelique Kerber, who unfortunately did not win last year, joining us for events and interviews, as well as presenting our new vehicles. Just like we saw with the SMBC Singapore Open, the WTA was a great customer platform as they get to see the world’s best players in the sport, and all in the same week.
Final question, favourite Porsche and why?
(Laughs) Because there’s so many, this is a very tricky question. Of the current 911 line up, it has to be the 911 T because it represents the pure 911 and how it’s meant to be. Of course with that, every 911 made has its own special set of characteristics.
There are definitely more powerful ones but I love the 911 T and I drove it a couple of times in Singapore. It’s a beautiful car but apart from the 911 T, I currently drive a Macan which is my first time driving it on a regular basis. I’m always excited by the feel of sports car, how they drive and their agility.