The company was started by Ferdinand Porsche as he collaborated with Volkswagen to create the Beetle. Some of Porsche’s most famous vehicles have included the Porsche 911, Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Macan, Porsche Panamera, and the 718 Boxster.
The History of Porsche
Beginning of the Company
Ferdinand Porsche was the creator of Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche GmbH. Starting in 1931, the main offices were located at Kronenstraße 24 right in the middle of Stuttgart, Germany. At that time, they offered consulting and development in the motor vehicle fields but hadn’t built any of their own vehicles.
In the midst of World War II, Porsche was commissioned to produce heavy tanks. They constructed several designs but lost to Henschel & Son for the contracts which later led to the creation of Tiger I and Tiger II. While all seemed to be lost, Porsche used the chassis they developed as a starting point for the Elefant tank destroyer. They also created the Maus super-heavy tank during the end of the war with two prototypes.
In 1945, after the war, the Volkswagen factory located at Kdf-Stadt was taken over by the British. At that time, Ferdinand Porsche lost the position in Volkswagen as the Chairman of the Board of Management. Instead, Ivan Hirst, who was a British Army Major, took over the factory.
Then, in December 1945, Ferdinand was taken into custody, charged with war crimes. Despite the charges, he was never tried. It was during that 20-month time in prison that Ferry Porsche, his son, decided to manufacture a vehicle. His desire stemmed from a lack of options on the market that he desired to purchase.
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche GmbH later took over the production of future 356 vehicles in Stuttgart. That’s when the company hired Reutter Karosserie, a Zuffenhausen-based company to build the steel body. Then, in 1952, they created a new assembly plant for Porsche directly across from the Zuffenhausen-based manufacturer.
During the aftermath of the war, car parts were hard to acquire. Thankfully, the 356 utilized components out of the Beetle, including its engine case. The car went through several stages, known as A, B, and C during its production. Eventually, the Volkswagen parts were swapped with Porsche parts instead. Then, in 1954, the company used engine cases that were only meant for the 356.
Since the beginning, Porsche designs included an air-cooled rear-engine configuration just like the Beetle. This is rare for automakers, but Porsche was able to create a well-balanced automobile. Some success in the motor racing endeavors led to the production of 550 Spyder as well as the 911. This vehicle featured the famous, six-cylinder “boxer” engine.
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche took over the team handling the body design. He was the oldest son of Ferry Porsche. There were some internal conflicts within the company at the time, so Ferry took his son’s plans and went to Reuter, a chassis manufacturer. Shortly after, they became the seat manufacturer, known today as Keiper-Recaro.
The office assigned sequential numbers for each project. They were unable to use any ‘x0x’ names due to Peugeot’s trademark, so they adjusted theirs to the 911. Their racing models, however, did go by the standard sequence of numbers (904, 906, etc.).
The company changed from a limited partnership in 1972 into a public limited company. Ferry believed that the company was no longer considered a family operation, so he established an Executive Board. These members were not part of the family, but there was a Supervisory Board that consisted of many family members. At this decision, several family members including Ferdinand Piëch and F. A. Porsche decided to leave the company.
F.A. Porsche went on to found a design company, otherwise known as Porsche Design. They became famous for exclusive watches, sunglasses, furniture, and other opulent pieces. Ferdinand Piëch , Ferry’s nephew, founded an engineering bureau that developed a five-cylinder inline-diesel engine for the Mercedes Benz company. He had been successful in the mechanical development of the 908, 911, and 917 models for Porsche. After that, he moved on to Audi, eventually becoming the Volkswagen Group’s Chairman.
Growth of a Company
The very first CEO of the company was Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann. Initially, he was the in the engine development section. You might know the name from the Fuhrmann engine. It was placed in 356 Carreras and the 550 Spyder. It featured four overhead camshafts instead of a central camshaft that had pushrods.
Fuhrmann was later replaced in the 1980s by a 911 aficionado, Peter Schutz. He only made it as the CEO through 1988 when Arno Bohn came aboard. He was the former manager of Nixdorf Computer AG. From there, many other CEOs came and went including Heinz Branitzki, Wendeline Wiedeking and also Ferdinand’s nephew, Ferdinand Piëch. He still retains 12.8 percent of voting shares which is the second largest behind F. A. Porsche at 13.6 percent.
The Porsche 911 and Other Vehicles
In 1989, the Porsche 911 was introduced. It was Porsche’s first to come with the Tiptronic transmission paired with four-wheel drive.
In 2006, the Boxster stopped being the best-selling Porsche in the entirety of North America. This made room for the 911 to take back over the top spot. Since then, both the 911 and Cayenne have exchanged the top position back and forth. In the German market, the 911 consistently outsells the Cayman, Boxster and Cayenne.
Porsche Cars North American relocated its headquarters in 2011 from Sandy Springs, GA to Atlanta. The newer site contained a state-of-the-art office building as well as a test track. It is situated where the old Ford plant was, right next to Atlanta’s busy airport. It’s known by its address which is One Porsche Drive.
Restructuring of the Company
Porsche SE started in June 2007 with the renaming of the previous Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. This became the stake for the families’ in Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH, which they retained 50.1%. That in turn, led to 100% ownership of Porsche AG and 50.7% ownership of Volkswagen AG. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG (Porsche AG) became the new company for car manufacturing.
Alternative Propulsion Methods
In 2010, the company launched their Cayenne S Hybrid as well as the Panamera S Hybrid. They also developed a hybrid variation of the 911. It was referred to as a GT3 R Hybrid. This was a collaboration between Porsche and Williams Grand Prix Engineering.
Then, in July 2014, the company launched the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid as a plug-in hybrid variation. This replaced the Cayenne S Hybrid from their lineup of vehicles. It was the first premium SUV plug-in hybrid. It also allowed Porsche to be the first auto manufacturer that had three plug-in hybrid models in production.
As of July 2017, the company installed the first 350kW, 800V charging station. This was to accompany the Porsche Mission E expected to be released in 2020. Their charging stations were the fastest in the world. Within 15 minutes, the Porsche Mission E receives up to 80% of its full potential. The company also has plans to collaborate with other automakers to make compatible charging stations.
Porsche Safety and Crash Ratings
If you wonder if Porsche vehicles are safe, you’ll have to do some extensive research. It turns out that their vehicles aren’t ranked by the IIHS, a standard benchmark to determine safety. Aside from that, the older models of the 911 have notoriously been categorized as unsafe.
While they’ve come a long way in the engineering, the older versions of the 911 had some significant weight issues. With the engine located so far behind the rear axle, the slightest miscalculation led to dangerous oversteer.
At first the company attempted to compensate for the problem by adding iron weights to the front of the bumpers. Then, they added the “whale tail” spoilers plus front air dam in the early 70s. This was a significant upgrade in the handling and helped to keep the car planted in place.
With today’s all-wheel-drive capability and upgraded traction control, Porsche seems to have fixed the majority of the 911s dangerous tendencies.
Porsche Safety Equipment
The Porsche brand of vehicles offers many safety equipment features in their automobiles. Some of them include:
– Head-Up Display– projects relevant information in front of the driver. This includes current speed, navigation, traffic sign recognition, telephone, off-road stats and warnings from the vehicle assistance systems.
– Adaptive cruise control (ACC) – adjusts your speed based on the vehicles around you
– Lane Keeping Assist – this also includes traffic sign recognition
– Collision and brake assist
– Night Vision Assist – infrared camera detects pedestrians or larger animals
Some of the more notorious safety recalls for the Porsche brand include the 2015 recall of 59,000 Porsche Macan and Macan Turbo. The reason behind the recall was a possible leakage found in the low-pressure fuel line. This was located within the engine compartment. The company replaced the fuel lines for customers without incident.
In 2017, they had three recalls back to back related to safety-related issues. The first covered 21 vehicles including the 911 Carrera Cabriolet, 911 Targa S, and 718 Boxster. The recall involved the car’s windshield. There were improper bonding techniques used that resulted in the windshield detaching during a collision. Dealers simply reaffixed the windshield with the proper bonding technique to correct the issue.
The second recall included 120 vehicles from 2016 and 2017, so it was relatively small. There was a manufacturing error that prevented the airbag inflators from working correctly. The third involved 17,871 vehicles from the 2015 and 2016 Macan models. The passenger detection sensor wasn’t capable of determining if a passenger seat was occupied. This deactivated the airbag at times when a passenger was present.
Just like Volkswagen, Porsche suffered its own emissions scandal, though not on the same scale. In 2017, the German government recalled tens of thousands of SUVs made by Porsche. They discovered a defeat device similar to what Volkswagen used to cheat emissions testing. The recall only included 22,000 Cayenne 3-liter TDI vehicles found in Europe.
Consumer Satisfaction Reports & Dependability Ratings
In 2008, the Luxury Institute in New York conducted independent research. The result was Porsche winning the “the most prestigious automobile brand” ranking. In 2014, Consumer Reports listed the Boxster and Cayman as some of the most reliable vehicles available.
In 2016, Porsche dealerships achieved the highest ranking during a Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index Lead Effectiveness Benchmarking Study. The study evaluated 18,551 dealerships in the nation between September 2015 and March 2016. Most dealers responded to inquiries online within 30 minutes, which far exceeded the average of most other brands.
In the 2018 J.D. Power Car Dependability Ratings, Porsche ranked second of all automakers, just slightly behind Lexus.
Porsche has also won the J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study for 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2014. In addition, a study done in Canada dated 2011, revealed that over 97% of Porsche vehicles from the last 25 years were still on the road.
2016 – Brand Awards
– U.S. News & World Report Best Luxury Brand
– Kelley Blue Book Best Performance Luxury Brand
– J.D. Power Porsche Sales Satisfaction Best Luxury Brand 2016
718 Boxster/Cayman Awards
– 10 Best: Sports Car.
– Boxster won J.D. Power Highest Ranked Appeal for Compact Premium Sporty Car
– Cayman GT4 won Automobile – All-Stars
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards for Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover
– J.D. Power Highest Ranked Appeal for Compact Premium SUV
– J.D. Power Highest Initial Quality for Compact Premium SUV
– Macan Turbo won 10 Best Award SUV for Compact Luxury Crossovers and SUVs
– Kelley Blue Book – Best Resale Value for High-End Luxury Car
2017 – Brand Awards
– Kelley Blue Book 10 Most Awarded Brands
– Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Award
– J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey: Plant (Porsche AG)
– Kelley Blue Book Best Performance Luxury Brand
– U.S. News & World Report – 2017 Best Luxury Brand
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: Luxury Brand
-World Performance Car of the Year
– Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award: Sports/Performance Car
– 718 Cayman won Kelley Blue Book 10 Favorite New-for-2017 Cars
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: Sports Car
– J.D. Power APEAL: Midsize Premium Sporty Car
– J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey: Midsize Premium Sporty Segment
– AutoPacific 2017 Best in Class Sports Car
– MotorWeek Best Dream Machine: 911 Turbo S
– Edmunds Most Wanted: 911 Carrera
– Kelley Blue Book:10 Most Fun SUVs
– J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey: Compact Premium SUV Segment
– Car and Driver 10 best Truck and SUVs: Luxury Compact SUV
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: Luxury Compact SUV/ Crossover
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: High-End Luxury Car
– Kelley Blue Book:10 Best Luxury SUVs
– J.D. Power APEAL: Midsize Premium SUV
– AutoPacific 2017 Best in Class Premium Luxury Crossover SUV
2018 – Brand Awards
– J.D. Power Total Ownership Experience Award
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: Luxury Brand
– U.S. News & World Report – Best Luxury Brand
– Edmunds Best Retained Value Award
– Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Award: Performance Car
– Car and Driver 10 Best Cars
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: Sports Car
– Car and Driver 10 Best Cars
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: High-Performance Car
– Automobile All-Star: 911 GTS
– MotorWeek Driver’s Choice Award: 911 GT2 RS
– Edmunds Buyers Most Wanted: Luxury Sports Car
– N.Y. Daily News Best Luxury Performance Car
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: Luxury Compact SUV/Crossover
– Car and Driver 10 Best Trucks and SUVs
– Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value: High – End Luxury Car
– Kelley Blue Book 5-Year Cost to Own Award: High-End Luxury Car
Relationship with Volkswagen
Porsche maintained a tight-knit relationship with the Volkswagen Group since the beginning. Even the first VW Bettle was partly designed by Ferdinand Porsche.
In 2009, both companies agreed that the manufacturing operations would merge. Then, in 2011, they formed a combined group. This led to Porsche SE owning 50.76% of Volkswagen AG in return for VW management taking some roles in Porsche’s company.
This ownership also entails part of other brands in the company such as Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Ducati. It also includes Volkswagen Financial Services. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG is a 100% subsidiary of the VW company. They are responsible for all manufacturing and production of the automobile line.
Porsche PFM 3200 Aircraft Engine
Automobile engines aren’t the only thing the company is interested in. The PFM 3200 was their six-cylinder horizontally opposed air-cooled aircraft engine. The name stands for Porsche-Flugmotoren (Porsche Flight Engines).
In the 50s, several light aircraft makers from Europe starting using air-cooled engines from automobiles, particularly the 356 and VW Beetle. From 1957 through 1963, the company worked with the builders to produce several engines. These were referred to as the 678 series. The small engines only displaced 1.6-liters and offered up to 70 horsepower.
The engines were also heavier and larger than the competing engines when they were fully accessorized. They also created additional aerodynamic cooling drag because of its fan system design.
The company chose to exit the market in the late 80s and closed down their lines in 1991. In total, estimates figure it cost them about $75 million to create the small level of engines they delivered. It only ended up being about 80 motors when all was said and done. Despite the short production, the PFM was part of a diverse array of aircraft. Some of them were the Mooney M20L, Extra 330, Ruschmeyer MF-85, Robin DR400, as well as several others. The M20L was the only to one to make it into production.
Death of Paul Walker
Paul Walker, the notorious actor from the Fast and the Furious movies, died in 2013 while riding in a Porsche Carrera GT. As a result, several lawsuits were brought forth against the company. His 18-year old daughter settled with the company for an undisclosed amount of money. His father also settled a lawsuit with this German automaker.
The car that Walker was a passenger in crashed and ultimately exploded in California. This also killed Roger Rodas, the driver of the vehicle. The wrongful death suit that was filed claimed that he would have remained alive if the company had provided the right safety features in the car.
His daughter’s lawyers claimed that the company knew the Carrera GT had instability and control issues but failed to install their electronic stability control equipment.
Snapshot of the Company
Since 2015, Oliver Blume has been the CEO of the company. For 28 years, he had worked as a planner over the body shop and paint division of Audi. He then took over the responsibility for the Audi A3 body and eventually became the Executive Assistant of production at the company. He’s worked in production planning for SEAT and VW prior to becoming the CEO.
Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) is based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the exclusive importer of their vehicles for the United States. It was established in 1984 and employs about 300 people. In 2009, they opened the Northeast Regional Support Center which won the LEED Gold Certificate. This 300,000 square-foot building was the only one of its kind in the northeast to receive the honor. It’s located in Easton, PA and features some advanced environmentally conscious initiatives.
In 2015, they relocated their headquarters to a new location in Atlanta, GA. This included the Porsche Experience Center. This location houses a Driving Simulator Lab, 1.6-mile driver development track, Carrera Café, Driver’s Selection Store, as well as Restaurant 356 which is a fine dining establishment.
In 2015, the company sold 218,983 vehicles. 13% of them were sold in Germany with the other 87% being sold internationally. They claim to maintain the highest profit per unit when compared with other car makers in the world.
Of the vehicles produced during this year, 13% of them were 911 models. Another 9% were made up of Cayman and Boxster models. In total, 34% of them were Cayennes while another 7% accounted for Panameras. Accounting for the final 37% were the Macans.
In November 2016, the company set a U.S. sales record of 5,500 for the month. On May 11, 2017, they built their one millionth 911 model. It was an Irish green Carrera S designed for the occasion. It went on a global tour prior to being placed on exhibit at the museum in Stuttgart.
In 2017, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. set an all-time sales record in the States after they sold 55,240 vehicles. This was the eighth consecutive year of record-breaking sales for the company.
Porsche AG is owned by the Volkswagen Group. Because of this, they fall under the umbrella of many other manufacturers such as Audi, Bentley, and Ducati.
In addition, Porsche AG holds a 29% share in Bertrandt AG. This company participates in German engineering plus design consultancy. They also own 81.8% of Mieschke Hoffman und Partner. They are also based in Germany with a focus in IT and process consulting for the automotive and manufacturing sectors.
Both Württemberg-Hohenzollern and Württemberg-Baden became a part of Baden-Württemberg back in 1952. Because of this, their coat of arms was discontinued and is only used in the logo for Porsche presently.
Porsche hasn’t been afraid to push the limits with their marketing campaigns. For example, in 1983, they ran an ad titled, “Nobody’s Perfect.” It was a dealer poster and used in magazines throughout North America. It listed the results of the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, of which only BMW managed to earn in the top 10th with 9th place. All the other spots were filled with Porsche vehicles.
Another popular ad was created by a 20-year old studying graphic design. He asked the simple question, “If you could choose between world peace and a Porsche 911, what color would you want your Porsche to be?”
There’s no question that Porsche has had an impact in the world of motorsports. While they’ve been involved in numerous racing endeavors, none are quite as memorable as their time of Le Mans. With a total of 19 wins, there are plenty of events that have occurred. Let’s recap some of their most memorable moments.
Ask any motorsport enthusiast and they’ll tell you this was the greatest Le Mans race in history. It’s often referred to as the ‘Battle of the Titans’ because it was a head to head battle against Porsche and Ferrari. Heavy rain caused an accident involving two Ferrari vehicles and Porsche went on to win.
Henri Pescarolo and Klaus Ludwig won with just two drivers. It was a long and grueling race, especially after dropping into 30th place with fuel feed problems during the first hour. In the end, they won by two laps over the competition.
Le Mans always attracted Hollywood stars, but this was the year of Patrick Dempsey. He drove in the race for the first time in 2009, only finishing in fourth place with the AM-category 911. He later got to stand on the podium and go on to be a brand ambassador.
The 919 Hybrid won its first race while run by a rookie crew.
This year was a sad time for enthusiasts everywhere with the news that the #1 automaker was quitting Le Mans. The decision was made to focus more on Formula E, the all-electric racing series, starting in 2019.
The Porsche Museum is located in the Zuffenhausen district of Stuttgart, Germany. It’s been open since 1976 and was originally situated near the Porsche factory. At that time, the small museum only held about 20 exhibits.
In 2006, they began upgrading the museum by extending it. As a result, the new display covers 60,000 square-feet and contains approximately 80 exhibits. It showcases 70 years of sports cars and even features a 356 Speedster from 1954.
Porsche Finance works like most car finance companies. They offer individualized services to clients looking to lease or purchase a Porsche vehicle. Services also include a Protection Plan. This plan covers a range of aid like tire and wheel protection, dent protection, and windshield protection. They also have multi-coverage protection packages and guaranteed auto protection in the case of a complete loss.
Since October 2017, the company offers Porsche Passport. This is a subscription program for new cars and SUVs. It allows customers to access new vehicles through a subscription service. This reduces the need to lease or purchase your vehicle. At the start of the program, it’s only available in Atlanta as a trial run.
They achieve high performance when compared to their peers. In addition, they are also high-quality representatives for the company. Because of this, Porsche recognizes them as people that exceed expectations of their customers on a regular basis.
There are also two dealerships listed in the J.D. Power Dealers of Excellence. They are Porsche North Scottsdale located in Arizona and Porsche of Annapolis in Maryland.
7 Interesting Facts about Porsche
1 – Ferdinand Porsche constructed the first VW Beetle in his private villa.
2 – The company built ten 356s after production ended, specifically for the Dutch police. Rumor has it that Jerry Seinfeld owns one of them.
3 – Of the 917 racecars, the first 25 received the name “secretary cars.” That’s because secretaries built them. Anyone that was able to assemble helped in order to appease FIA inspectors.
4 – Porsche has won about 24,000 races around the world. With that said, it’s clear that there’s no one that can beat that.
5 – The company designs award-winning forklifts. This is done through Linde Material Handling.
6 – The 1986 Porsche 944 set the record of being the first car in the U.S. that featured a passenger airbag as part of its standard equipment. At the time, most other companies charged for this safety feature.
7 – Some Harley Davidson bikes use Porsche engines. The V-Rod has an advanced, 60-degree, double overhead cam engine developed exclusively for their racing division, by the automaker.
Frequently Asked Questions
1 – How is Porsche Pronounced? Because it is a family name, it’s pronounced [ˈpɔʁʃə] in German or PORSH-ə in English. It’s homophonous with the name Portia. In the English language, pronunciation occurs with a single syllable instead, PORSH— while dropping the final /ə/ sound.
2 – Where is Porsche Made? The headquarters of the company are located in Zuffenhausen, which is a district in Stuttgart, Germany. This is also where the main factory is located. In addition, production for the Panamera and Cayenne happens in Leipzig, Germany. In addition, several parts for the SUV come from Bratislava, Slovakia at Volkswagen’s Touareg factory.
3 – Is Porsche Owned by VW? Yes. In 2012, Volkswagen acquired the remaining 50.1 percent of the Porsche company that it didn’t previously own. Consequently, this deal cost $5.6 billion and an ordinary VW share.
4 – Why a Porsche 911? What’s all the hype? There are few sports cars like the Porsche 911. As a result, all others measure themselves by this iconic vehicle’s standards. People fall in love with the 911 for many reasons. First, it’s a classic. Few cars of its era remain in production. It’s also fast, updated and full luxury inside the cabin. The 911 continues to receive many accolades for its superior handling, which makes it drive like a race car. While it’s an expensive car, it’s one that is sure to impress.