A Closer Look at Automotive Museums

Last week, Automotive News took a look at the exorbitant costs that manufacturers pay to keep their museums operating. According to the article, General Motors apparently spends approximately $1.8 million per year to keep their Heritage Center operating, while housing 600 production, race and concept cars. At the time of the federal bailout, they had almost double that amount of cars on hand before deciding to cut it down during the desperate times as an appropriate and necessary act of good faith.
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As the museum’s manager Greg Wallace stated, “We had to ask ourselves: Did we really need to keep 60 different Monte Carlos from 2002 to 2006?”.
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Previously, the reason for keeping so many examples on board was said to be to keep as many examples of their company’s “heritage” as possible and for use as inspiration for their past, current and future designers.
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At the end of the day, all of those concept cars from every car brand that we have seen in auto shows have to go somewhere, so they end up being filed away in museums after they have made their show circuit rounds.
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Chrysler’s museum housed a more modest 300 cars, until they shut their doors to the public in 2012 and sold off many of their vehicles when attendance fell that year.
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While Nissan’s museum has roughly the same amount of cars in Japan, they receive a healthy 5,000 visitors per year, and the Germans apparently have the whole museum situation down  to an art form, meant quite literally. Their cars aren’t merely displayed, they are used as integrated pieces of art into the landscape.
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Porsche, Mercedes Benz, BMW and Volkswagen each have their own facilities that function much like modern art museums.
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Porsche is said to have spent $130 million to build their facility in 2009, where it houses 80 road, track, production and concept models that are constantly revolving with cars that are in their near by warehouse which stores more than 500. Tickets are $11 per entry to the public museum, where it attracts two million visitors per year.
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The Mercedes Benz museum displays vehicles from their 114 years of automobile manufacturing and has attracted more than 5 million visitors.
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Brand awareness, relevancy and loyalty are all important reasons for manufacturers to keep their museums running and as car enthusiasts, we all benefit from when these facilities are kept open to the public.
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Read further in the link below. 


General Motors Heritage Center:
Chrysler Museum:
Porsche Museum:
Mercedes Benz Museum:
BMW Museum:
Volkswagen Museum:
Some photos sourced from:

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