Porsche Holding Salzburg enters into research cooperation with University of Salzburg

  • Cooperation contract formally signed
  • PHS CEO Alain Favey: "Investment in digital future."
  • Research project on "Automotive Retail Lab" launched in April 2016
  • Cooperation will run until the end of 2017
  • Topic: Developing the future of a unique car buying experience


Salzburg, May 30, 2016 - Alain Favey, Porsche Holding Salzburg CEO, Professor Dr. Heinrich Schmidinger, President of the University of Salzburg, and Professor Dr. Manfred Tscheligi, Head of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), signed a pioneering cooperation contract in Salzburg today. The research project baptized "Automotive Retail Lab" aims to develop a unique car buying experience. "This cooperation stands for the investment in our digital future", said Alain Favey in his speech at the signing ceremony.

Developing a unique customer buying experience

The automotive industry goes through changes. The consumer behaviour is constantly changing due to new digital opportunities. Porsche Holding Salzburg as Europe's largest and most successful automotive retail company, seeks to

play a leading role in the digital future, too. "Thanks to their research focus set on the automotive sector, the University of Salzburg and the HCI are the perfect match for us", says Alain Favey.

"With this cooperation, the University of Salzburg pursues its traditional course of entering into research-driven cooperation with industry. In so doing, leverage of content-related synergies and joint future innovations can be realized especially with leading companies such as Porsche Holding Salzburg", says its President Heinrich Schmidinger, emphasizing the added value brought to the University of Salzburg.

Two research topics

What will the showroom of the future look like? Is it possible to optimize the car buying experience and its processes by digital means? Launched earlier this year, and running until the end of 2017, the research cooperation is to answer these and other questions. The interdisciplinary research team led by Prof. Dr. Manfred Tscheligi, consists of research assistants from the Center for Human-Computer Interaction and from the Department Chemistry and Physics of Materials, given support by qualified people from Porsche Holding Salzburg. Research focus is put on two topics: First all fields where there is customer contact will be analysed, and potentials will be identified. Second there will be studies on how to support Porsche Holding sales and service teams best with interactive tools such as Tablet PCs. Three Porsche Inter Auto dealer locations will participate in this test project.

"When it comes to highly complex products such as vehicles, solely digital shopping using online shops for instance, will remain an exception also in the near future. The research project therefore concentrates on the special added value of a shopping experience in the showroom by enhancing interaction with the physical and sensory attributes of the product with digital content. Only when the physical attributes of real vehicles are perfectly combined with the digital ones, we can offer customers a seamless shopping experience", says Prof. Manfred Tscheligi, explaining the need of showrooms for customers.

"Salzburg is a fertile ground for science and research. We've recently decided the Science and Innovation Strategy Salzburg 2025, which mainly defines goals for our research and innovation policy while aiming to improve cooperation between science and business. Such cooperation between our University and Porsche Holding Salzburg makes a significant contribution to our region's innovativeness. We need innovation in order to sustain the business location and thus Salzburg's high quality of life. I congratulate the cooperation partners and am convinced that it's a win-win situation for both parties", said Dr. Brigitta Pallauf, President of the Salzburg Regional Parliament.

Harald Preuner, Deputy Mayor of the City of Salzburg, underlined the importance of this research contract: "I am delighted at the prospect of this scientific cooperation between a major Salzburg-based trading company and the University of Salzburg. I think it's quite positive to think about future customer needs already today."

About the Center for Human-Computer Interaction

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction was initially established as research unit at the former ICT&S Center (within the Department of Computer Sciences). In 2016, it became a special Division at Salzburg University with currently 40 researchers, also pursuing manifold cooperation with industry. The Center's interdisciplinary team consists of researchers from different Departments such as Computer Sciences, Psychology, Sociology, Educational Science, Design and Multimedia.

About Porsche Holding Salzburg

Porsche Holding Salzburg is Europe's largest and most successful automotive retail company. The Salzburg-based company was founded in 1949 and now operates in 22 countries in Western and South-East Europe, as well as in China, Colombia and Chile. Since 1 March 2011 Porsche Holding Salzburg has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG.