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Porsche Limits Agency Hunt to Western Shops

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RENO, NEV. - For Porsche, the word is out: East Coast agencies need not apply. Porsche Cars of North America, which unexpectedly fired Fallon, McElligott/Minneapolis two weeks ago, will meet with some 10 West Coast agencies in the next few weeks to handle its estimated $18 million.
Porsche's U.S. marketing manager Joel Ewanick has viewed creative of about 25 shops across the country. But, he said, because the company is based in Nevada, geography dictates that an agency based between San Diego and Seattle, will get the nod when they settle on a new agency next month.
'It's important to us to be able to travel to our agency, meet and be able to get back to Reno in one day,' said Ewanick, who was in New York last week to meet with shops there.
Porsche has fallen on hard times in the last several years, selling just 4,133 cars last year, compared with more than 30,000 in 1986. Porsche is suffering from the decline in baby boomers who view the small high-performance roadsters as the car to have. In addition to increased competition from Japanese imports, Porsche's traditional target market has taken to buying sport utility vehicles as their 'fun' car instead of fast sports cars.
'Porsche still is a very valuable brand, but the company has stood still for too long in the area of product,' said John Slaven of Slaven Marketing Services, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
Fallon was paid by fee, but Ewanick said he will listen to alternatives from the contending agencies. 'If we can't agree on a rate, than maybe we'll do a fee again,' he said.