Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dubai Regional Porsche Meeting

Our first and last regional sales and marketing meeting was in Dubai and held at the Importer’s premises, who were also the VW and Audi Importers.
Porsche AG sent out Herbert Layda to represent them, so everyone took this as a signal this was a junior meeting, so it was a flop before it got started. All the wealthy Arab owners and their managers all wanted to go to Europe or elsewhere in the world, so having a local regional meeting did not do it for them. Herbert had a lot of trouble keeping everyone at the venue and he was out of his depth so never had any control of the meeting.
“Ez” was the Egyptian General Manager of our hosts, had arranged a group of cars for us all to drive around the small race circuit that had been constructed around the Hyatt Regency hotel, where we were all staying. This provided a bit of fun and light relief and we discussed a Middle East Arab advertising campaign in a meeting room there. Everyone ganged up on Herbert that Porsche AG should pay for advertising in our territory, like VW and Audi, which Porsche had never done to date, so to my surprise Herbert agreed and committed Porsche AG to a campaign by signing Minutes of the Meeting, which I knew was not his place to do, but I kept my own counsel.
On the lighter side, the Importer in Oman was a German man called Wolf Dieter Moser, who was in business with a local Omani. Wolf was also the official German Consulate in Oman, so he had access to the entire Government Minister’s and also the Sultan of Oman himself.
Wolf and his Omani partner had driven from Muscat to Dubai in a Porsche 928S and when I asked him about visas and travelling by car, he said, “No problem for an Omani to come to UAE, but all Arabs need a visa to get into Oman.” Apparently the Sultan considered the local UAE Arabs Bedouin staying on the lands his father claimed. In the bar later, Wolf and I discussed all the different wars, border disputes going on in the Gulf region and when you analysed it, every single States was arguing over land with it’s neighbours! The GCC had just been formed and was the new EU in the Gulf region. It moved on very rapidly however, as it was all the Rulers meeting behind closed doors to iron out their disputes and problems and it all came together very quickly. Soon all GCC Nationals could travel freely amongst each other State, Customs got harmonised, etc.
Wolf told me he had sold a Porsche 959 to the Sultan who was so impressed with the car, he placed a standing order for every new Porsche model that came out! I was envious of such a relationship and in built sales.
Wolf was a great man and he always had me in fits of laughter during our meetings wherever they were. He had a dry sense of humour, which was so unusual for a German.
We did not have any more regional meetings, as there was always some rivalry between different nationalities and social backgrounds in our region, so it was quietly decided to meet in Germany or elsewhere, as most participants wanted to go overseas on a jolly in any event.

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