Porsche, a family story
The story of Porsche almost summarizes the 20th century German automobile Industry history. Clever and talented, Ferdinand Porsche designs several models of pioneer companies such as Mercedes- Benz, Steyr and Austro-Daimler. It is in this environment that his second son Ferry Porsche born in 1909 in the actual Austria, venture into car racing. However, engineering remains in his blood and follows his father in 1931 when the family officially open their own Engineering studio in Stuttgart. Ferdinand will develop a Brand and Ferry his skills to become the studio engineering director in 1932. In 1933, the Nazis take power; it appears to be a dark period for the German constructor. The Chancellor Hitler desires a popular vehicle, able to reach 100km/h and for a reasonable price of 1000 Reichmarks (1). Ferdinand takes the occasion and presents the Volkswagen Beetle. The company will also contribute to the war effort during the II World war. After the Armistice, Ferdinand Porsche is arrested in France for war crime during 2 years. During this time his son Ferry restarts the family business and takes completely control of it with artisanal methods…
A Fast Success
Ferry went from dream to reality the first time in 1938 by designing from the beginning to the end the “Type 64”, a sport car inspired form the “Beetle”. Then Porsche produced his first series vehicle: The “356” homologated in 1948. Again based on the “Volkswagen Beetle” Chassis and 40 horsepower rear mounted.The mass production of this new “coupe”, “cabriolet” and “Speedster” start in 1950 with 80 000 sold vehicles. Half of them were exported to the USA attracted by the sporty aspect of the car able to reach 145 km/h. Porsche demonstrates clearly the sport cars segment and reveals in 1963, the rear engine “Porsche 911” forwarding the company to prestige.Loved for the performance and the style the “911” goes through the generations with technological innovations and keeping her unique lines.Thanks to recorded success during mythic races such as 16 victories of “Les 24h du Mans” or 5 World 1st title in Formula 1 and the 4 Monte Carlo success, Porsche create a magnificent showcase for the his clients. After the death of the Dr Ferdinand Porsche in 1951, the family is merged between Ferry’s children and his sister’s son Ferdinand Piech (like his grandfather) who produces the “Porsche 917” in 1970. Later the power conflict rises in the family between Ferdinand Alexander first son of Ferry, and his cousins. Therefore Ferry and the sister Louise decided that no heirs will be able to direct the group. Offended Ferdinand Piech leaves the familial business for “Audi” before becoming the president of “Volkswagen” in 1988.
A strong return on investments
The crisis of 1980-1990, places Porsche on the verge bankruptcy due to the venue of strong concurrent from the Japan Market. In 1993, the production is divided by five! During this same year Wendelin Weideking is promoted director and applies drastic changes inspired by “Toyota”. He stops the production of the “Porsche 328” and “368” not cost effective enough and engages a newer version of the “Porsche 911” (water-cooled engine) and start the design of the “roadster Boxster” and the “Cayenne”. In 1997, Porsche is back on track with the greatest profits in the company history; the “Cabriolet Boxster” is really appreciated and the “Cayenne” becomes the leader among the Luxurious 4×4. They now propose a Hybrid version of the “Cayenne”. Porsche is almost the most cost effective car company of the world. the value of the brand explodes up to 27 billion euros in 2007. The group also widen the range in 2009 with the “Panamera” first sport car with 4 doors.
Porsche & Volkswagen
Wendelin weideking wants to lead the group to the top of the German automobile industry.
However Ferdinand Piech, Supervisory board president of VW, does not intend to let this offense happen. Porsche’s financial operation is therefore slowed down and in debt of 10 billion euros (2), close to bankruptcy again, Porsche is forced to merge with Volkswagen in 2009. The misfortune is forgotten and Porches increases the sales of 57% in 2010 with the 6th generation of the “911” and the “Cayman” completing the Porsche range. Replacing the Carrera GT in the supercars segment, the “918 Spyder” will be later built with a hybrid engine. Not a surprise for the group as the first hybrid engine was engineered by Ferdinand Porsche in 1900.
(1) The family story of Porsches, his youth and steps to car design.
“Porsche – the man and his cars” Richard Von Frankenberg, Translated by Charles Meisl 1973. Edited by Fouils.
(2) Acquisition of Volkswagen regarding the financial situation of Porsche group
Dates and anecdotes of Porsche history
The Complete Story of Ferdinand Porsche and his family from 1900 to 1977.
“Porsche Excellence was expected, the Complete history of the sports and racing cars” by Karl Ludvigsen 1977. Editor muller.
Another version of the the group history, a wider angle on the car industrial business
“Porsche Progress, Stuttgart’s Modern Development Story” by Michael Cotton, 1988.