By D. Channing Muller Posted October 27, 2009, 2:20 PM EDT
MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA Luxury cars took center stage in Miami last week as Porsche launched its newest model and Infiniti unveiled a concept car at separate events within 24 hours of each other. To host their parties on October 21 and 22, respectively, the brands partnered with brands such as Piaget, Jimmy Choo, and W Hotels.
On Wednesday, Coral Gables luxury car dealership the Collection hosted the South Florida launch of the Porsche Panamera, the company’s first four-door model, with a party for nearly 500. “The Panamera is a very substantial entry into the [luxury car] marketplace, so it’s very important to showcase the car and launch it to this market,” said Ken Gorin, president of the Collection. Gorin added that the Collection is one of the largest Porsche dealerships in the world and highest in sales.
Coordinated by the Agency Public Relations and Event Specialists, the event took place in the Porsche lounge in the Collection’s showroom. In addition to its partnerships with Piaget and Jimmy Choo, both of which set up displays of their luxury designs, the dealership partnered with Miami magazine to promote the event. The Fontainebleau brought chefs from three of its restaurants—Hakkasan, Gotham Steak, and Scarpetta—to oversee the interactive food stations that had guests preparing light bites alongside the experts.
Midway through the party, models dressed in local designer Rene Ruiz's dresses uncovered the seven Panameras parked in the showroom. After the presentation, Gorin, C.O.O. of Porsche North America Michael Bartsch, and Wanda Trouba, vice president of mission resources for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Florida—the organization to which Gorin will be donating 1 percent of the proceeds from last weekend's sales of the Panamera—each thanked guests for attending. DJ Shlomi returned to his turntables until the party wrapped around 10:30.
Infiniti unveiled its new Essence concept car the next night at the W South Beach in front of a crowd of nearly 250. Miami marked the seventh stop on a nine-city tour for the luxury car, which debuted at the International Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland in March, despite the company shying away from other auto shows for 2009.
“Because of the economics of everything going on, we made the decision last year to not do auto shows this year, but we still needed to make sure people knew about us and that we wanted [to make] the connection with the consumers and owners,” said Infiniti communications senior manager Kyle Bazemore. “We also wanted to let future owners know what the brand is about and what to expect from us, so we're taking the concept car around the country.”
Infiniti parked the concept car and its G convertible in the hotel's main drive. Coordinated by Detroit-based experiential marketing company George P. Johnson, the cocktail party took place in the hotel's outdoor grove by the pool. Two plasma televisions from PSAV ran footage from the parties in other cities on the tour as well as promotional information about the car. DJ Danny Carreras provided the soundtrack for the night, which wrapped up around 10 p.m.