Each time Porsche releases a new vehicle, how does that impact your business?
From basically 2001-2009 in the turbo platform, things were pretty much the same, from the mechanical standpoint of the engines, the electronics changed, but nothing that made it difficult to continue on our engine development program and doing what we do. The GT3 stayed similar, the same basic engine platform all the way up until 2012-2013. It wasn’t until the new PDK turbo in 2010 was launched that Porsche changed the core of the old style GT1 engine.
We did purchase a PDK turbo back in 2010 for research and development but we took it as far as we wanted to take it and we really chose not to go much further than basic bolt-ons. The market never really emerged and there was limited power really to be had on that engine. We’re still building a high portion of 996 turbos so we slammed a huge market base. At the time we had the PDK turbo, it wasn’t worth it for us to dive into new and develop programs. Basically everything from that platform forward to 991, the 997.2, they share similar engine technology. I think the next engine technology is going to come out with new GT3 so that’s kind of what we’re waiting for to see what that engine brings.
Manufacturers now are embracing hybrid technology, does that scare you when you look into the future?
I think in 10-15 years, the market in general, the consumer buying these vehicles will have changed. The hardcore guys that want to build big power seem to have held on to their 996 turbo, 997 turbos. The new consumer, I don’t know who that is yet and that’s where we are with the PDK turbo. We are waiting to see if that market will emerge and what it will emerge into. The 991 never really did take off, that’s why we never really chose to go that much further with our engine development program. We will dabble in any car, any Porsche that is out but we’ll wait for the market to present itself before we invest a ton of money into research and development.
We had failures all along the way in terms of some car engine development program but those failures made us stronger because by not succeeding in something to me is really not a failure. It’s a way to make something better so from an engine development standpoint, we wouldn’t be where we are today without those failures in the past. From a business perspective, yeah, there was. I think when the recession hit, we had just purchased the building that we’re in now. We were 27 employees. We just took on a 25,000 square foot facility. Everything was great up until basically the point that we moved into this new facility. We needed to grow but we didn’t anticipate the market drop and it was almost like someone turned off the light switch. We had to make some pretty tough decisions to keep things going.
So here we are sitting in a 25,000 square foot facility but we just don’t have ton of money to make it the way we wanted, a lot of new equipments, and a staff that had to be cut back. That was not something that was easy to do but it was something that we had to do to survive.
The other thing we did is we took 5,000 square foot of our facility and sublet it to help with the overhead. We endured through that time and since then, I look back and back in 2006-2007 when things were so good for everybody, we made foolish business decisions. We were spending money like everybody else was spending money like there’s no end in sight.
With the down economy, it really made us independent and reevaluate how we do business, reevaluate how we be smarter about our business and I think in the long run, it has helped us to be better groomed, more efficient.