Once upon a time, to experience the unique thrill of driving a Porsche you had to buy or lease — or steal — a Porsche.  Not anymore.  Porsche just introduced two pilot programs — “Porsche Drive” and “Porsche Host.”  So what are “Porsche Drive” and “Porsche Host”?

Both programs give drivers access to Porsche vehicles on a short-term, on-demand basis — and it ain’t cheap, folks.  Each program is starting on the USA’s West Coast and East Coast, then spreading across the country from there.

“We want to offer a choice in how people experience the thrill of driving a Porsche,” said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA).

“Porsche Drive” and “Porsche Host” arrive on the heels of the previously announced “Porsche Passport” program, a subscription plan and service that puts the entire Porsche fleet at your fingertips — via a smartphone app — throughout your subscription period.

Mr. Zellmer, whom I met at one of the PCA Hospitality speaker programs during Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI, continues:  “Our market research shows that consumers want options across a spectrum from access to ownership.

“The ‘Porsche Drive’ and ‘Porsche Host’ pilots are exciting, non-traditional ways to let customers choose how they get behind the wheel of a Porsche.”

Again, I know you’re still asking, “So exactly what are ‘Porsche Drive’ and ‘Porsche Host’?”  The reason for the hesitation is that I’m having a little trouble wrapping my brain around these newfangled 21st century automotive-access concepts.  But, please, read on.

What are “Porsche Drive” and “Porsche Host”?: Pictured here is a man checking an app on his smartphone, with silver Cayenne in b.g. outside his office building's glass wall. Credit: Porsche AGPorsche Drive

Porsche Drive is a short-term rental pilot program.  It is follow-up to the aforementioned “Porsche Passport” subscription service.

Porsche has been keen lately on joint ventures to broaden its financial horizons, and Porsche Drive is just one example.  Porsche has teamed up with Clutch Technologies, LLC (Clutch) to power the program.

Thus Porsche Drive provides a wide array of new Porsche models to drivers, from a few hours to a week of Stuttgart driving pleasure.

Porsche Drive launched in Atlanta, home of PCNA, this past month.  Now open for business, it basically works like this.  One places his or her reservation, which is then confirmed.  This triggers what Porsche calls “white-glove concierge delivery service.”

The vehicle of one’s choice arrives at one’s requested place of delivery; in this current case somewhere within metropolitan Atlanta.

Usage options for all six Porsche model lines, the flagship 911 included, break down as follows:

  • Hourly (4-hour minimum)
  • Daily
  • Weekly

As in any case, though, access to specific model variants is dependent on particular variant availability.

As I mentioned earlier, the costs of these services are not cheap.  Here are a couple of examples for your information, not including taxes and fees:

  • For four (4) hours in a Macan or 718 Boxster or 718 Cayman: $269
  • For a weekly term in a 911: $2,909

Clutch manages the direct customer interface, as well as the entire vehicle delivery and return service for Porsche Drive.

Reserving your Porsche ride is quite simple and user-friendly, by exploiting today’s smartphone technology.  There are three (3) ways to reserve the Porsche of your desire:

  • Call 678-831-6291

Porsche Drive seems reasonable enough, but the following Porsche Host program seems very iffy to me.  Read on to see why.  And let us know your impressions in the Comments section below.

What are “Porsche Drive” and “Porsche Host”?: Seen here is a semi-generic photograph of a couple exiting to a red 911 Cabriolet, top down, from a Georgia mansion. Credit: Porsche AGPorsche Host

Porsche Host is another short-term “rental” program developed by Porsche Digital, Inc.  The program came online in Los Angeles and San Francisco earlier this month.

You’re probably becoming familiar with the umbrella program, car-sharing marketplace provider Turo.  The Turo program has received a lot of exposure in TV commercials lately (e.g., Velocity, etc.).  So you’re probably also a little familiar with the concept too.

Porsche calls it a “peer-to-peer” program.  Translation:  a Porsche owner, known as a “Turo host,” loans his or her car to you, a complete stranger.

Huh?  I’ve never let even my closest family members drive — much less borrow — my Porsches over the years.  So the Porsche Host program is the one I’m having the hardest time wrapping my brain around.

Anyway, Porsche states that “the program includes a group of outstanding Turo hosts who have been trained to offer a five-star Porsche experience.”

It’s easy to book a Porsche from Porsche Hosts by way of the Turo app or the Turo website.  You can keep the vehicle of your available choice for periods that run from one day to a month or even longer than that.

Say, Laguna Seca Track Days are right around the corner.  Anyone want to host-loan me your concours GT3 RS?

So there you have it.

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