Porsche has long been known for fast cars with sleek and sexy body styles. The company was founded in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche and was initially in the business of consulting and developing new motor vehicles, even though they didn’t build any cars under the Porsche name. One of the very first jobs the company was tasked with by the German government was to build a new car for the people and hence the Volkswagen Beetle was born. The Beetle has been one of the most successful car designs of all time and has enamored millions of people across the globe. In fact, the Beetle was so loved that the Porsche 64 that was designed and developed in 1939 was designed using many of the same components from the Beetle design.

Porsche was feeling pretty good about themselves at this point and developed a prototype for a tank that they named the “Porsche Tiger”. They worked hard to try and win the government contract to build all the tanks but they lost the contract to another competing company Henschel & Son’s. Their designs the Tiger I and Tiger 2 were used in the development base for the Elefant tank destroyer. Porsche was onto something and soon became proficient in their designs for tank destroyers. Porsche had quite an illustrious career during World War II and developed two prototypes of the Maus super heavy tank near the end of the war.

When the war ended in 1945, the British took over the Volkswagen

factory where Porsche had been doing all of their work. Porsche lost his position on the Board of Management for Volkswagen as their Chairman and that position was taken over by a British Army Major by the name of Ivan Hirst. Perhaps that worked out well because Ferdinand was arrested for war crimes and spend 20 months in jail, even though eventually he wasn’t tried. While he was in prison, his son Ferry decided that we was going to make a car of his own and set out to design and build the car he wanted because he couldn’t find a pre-made car on the market that fit the specifications of what he wanted to buy.

“In the beginning, I looked around and could not find the car I’d been dreaming of: A small, lightweight sports car that uses energy efficiently. So I decided to build it myself.”

Ferry Porsche

It was the beginning of what would be an amazing legacy.

He built the first few models of the Porsche 356. The car was pre-ordered by German auto dealers and then went to production. The 356 is considered the first Porsche to hit the market because it was the first car that was built and designed under the small companies name. It went on to sell 76,000 units. By 1950, Porsche was in the position to commission a company named Reutter Karosserie to produce the 356’s steel body. They were confident in Reutter’s ability because they had previously collaborated on the prototypes for the Volkswagen Beetle, so many years before. By 1952, Porsche was building their own assembly plant directly across the street from Reutter’s so that they could continue their close work and collaborations together. The rest they say is nearly history. Ferdinand Porsche was buried in 1951. He died from complications of a stroke on January 30th.

The Legacy Continued Even Without Ferdinand At The Wheel 

Life after the war and after the death of the Porsche founder found that parts were in short supply in post-war Germany. In order to keep the 356 automobile in production it was necessary to use parts from the Volkswagen Beetle such as parts of the suspension, transmission, internal combustion engine and the engine case. It kept the 356 on the road and running until the 356 could go through it’s own series of changes and evolutions. Eventually Porsche started to make their own parts and they didn’t require the use of Volkswagen parts anymore for their cars. They still used the same designer for the 356-body design that had designed the Volkswagen Beetle. The designs even from the beginning have rear-end configurations that are air-cooled which is very rare among all the other car manufacturers even though the end result is a functional and well-balanced car. 


We can’t talk about the history of Porsche without talking about their success in motor racing that dates back as early as 1964. The 550 Spyder was a huge racing success and the 356 was in need of an overhaul and re-design so it was the perfect time to develop and launch a new model and hence the Porsche 911 was born. The 911 boasted a boxer engine with six-cylinders, and was another air-cooled, rear-engine sports car. The 911 has become the most well known Porsche racing car of all time. It’s name a name for itself in rallies as well as on and off the track. The entire brand of Porsche really has been rooted in the 911. Even after several generations and revisions, the 911 is still on the road today and still outselling many other sports cars.

By 1972, it was time to grow and expand. At the time Soichiro Honda from Honda had a policy that banned family members in the company. When Ferry Porsche heard about that, he considered doing something similar to diversify the interests of the company and he said that the scale of the companies operation had outgrown the small family operation that it had historically been. So, to that end a new Executive Board was created that had members that were not part of the Porsche family. He did however continue to allow family members to serve on the newly formed supervisory board. In short, the family couldn’t manage the company but could still vote. Some of the family members were happy to exit the day-to-day management of the company and go relax with their trust funds on a beach somewhere. For others, this decision didn’t sit well with them and they left the company to pursue other interests. Even with those that left however, the history of family still remains very closely linked with the history of this car company. Family still to this day owns huge shares of stock and is involved with the company and of those that did leave at the time, there were some who managed to find their way back.

One of the family members that left was F. A. Porsche. He may have left the company but that didn’t mean that he was going to leave the Porsche name in the dust. They had built a brand with brand recognition and he was going to take advantage of that so he started a company called Porsche Design that designed exclusive luxury articles like furniture, sunglasses and watches that all were branded with the Porsche name. Some of the other family members that left Porsche also went on to continue their work elsewhere. Ferdinand Piech, who was a grandson to the founder, had been in charge of the mechanical development Porsche’s racecars and production cars. When he left, he landed at competitor Mercedes-Benz and developed his own engineering bureau and developed their five-cylinder inline diesel engine before he ultimately moved to Audi, which was a subsidiary of Volkswagen at the time. He worked his way through the company and ultimately ended up as Volkswagen Group’s chairman from 1993-2002 and still continues to sit as the Chairman of the Volkswagen AG Supervisory Board and still owns 12.8 percent of the voting shares of Porsche which is only second to his cousin F. A. Porsche who has 13.6 percent. 

Porsche Growth and Development

The Porsche 911 was initially introduced in 1989. It was the first one offered that had four-wheel drive and the Porsche Triptronic transmission. Porsche desired to be one of the best on the markets and actively started looking for other was to grow, expand and improve. By 1990 they were working closely with Toyota and even drew up a memorandum of understanding to allow them to benefit from and learn some of the Japanese lean manufacturing methods that were being used by Toyota. By 2004 Toyota was helping Porsche develop their hybrid vehicle technology. 

The year 2002 was a big one for Porsche. Not only did they unveil a new production facility in Saxony that would end up being responsibility for about half of the company’s yearly production, but they also introduced the Cayenne SUV which has been wildly popular and a fan favorite ever since. By 2004, the Carrera GT was being produced and sold for a whopping $440,000 in the United States and quickly took the title of the most expensive model that the company has ever produced and sold to consumers. 

By 2006, the Boxster and then the Cayenne were toping the charts as the most popular and best selling Porsches in North America. But the 911 wasn’t done yet and managed to regain the top spot in the region. Ever since, the 911 and Cayenne keep battling each other to be named the best seller and they seem to go back and forth with top sales statistics. If we go back to the homeland of Germany however, the 911 is still the best seller and the others haven’t been able to knock it out of its place. 

2011 rolled around and Porsche Cars North America made a bold move and spent $80-100 million dollars for a brand new North American headquarters that included office buildings and a built in test track. The new headquarters that sits in Aeretropolis, Atlanta sits on One Porsche drive. Granted, they were pretty motivated to make this move to the site of the old Ford plant that is adjacent to Atlanta’s airport because they received about $15 million in economic incentives to move to the new mixed-use development site from their own headquarters that were in the Sandy Springs suburb of Atlanta. 

Moving Into The Future

As all things do, the nature and market of high-end auto sales has changed and Porsche has figured out a way to evolve to keep up with the changing times. One of these moves is called the Porsche Passport program that was rolled out in Atlanta in October of 2017. This program allows consumers access to Porsche vehicles without having to lease or purchase them through subscribing to a subscription-based service. The idea has caught on and several other car manufacturers have either rolled out similar services or are thinking about rolling out a subscription based type service. 

Volkswagen And Porsche Are Still Buddies

If you’ll recall from earlier, Porsche and Volkswagen have historically been very close. Porsche’s founder Ferdinand Porsche designed the first Volkswagen Beetle, and Volkswagen produced all the initial Porsche designs before Porsche had developed their own name. Then later, after the war Porsche used Volkswagen parts in the vehicles until the scarcity subsided. Most people don’t realize that in 1969, Volkswagen and Porsche collaborated and made a car called the VW-Porsche 914 and 914-6. Basically it was the same car except the 914 had a Volkswagen engine and the 914-6 had a Porsche engine. There have been further collaborations down the line like the Porsche 912E that was only offered in the United States and the Porsche 924, which was known for using Audi components. The Porsche 924 was built in Audi’s factory, instead of Porsche’s. However, over the years it seemed that Porsche had become more and more dependent on its partner. The Cayenne SUV was dominating the sales and accounted for about a third of all their sales. By 2005 the Cayenne was using the VW SUV chassis in which was a great move on the part of Porsche because it literally saved them hundreds of millions of dollars. 

That wasn’t the only vehicle that was going to use the VW chassis. The Panamera, which is one of their four-door sedans just about to be released and would also use the VW chassis. These vehicles were basically fancy Volkswagens that had the Porsche engine installed. Because of all of this, in 2005 Porsche paid $4.2 billion dollars to acquire a 20% stake in Volkswagen. It was during an era of tons of automobile mergers and acquisitions and Porsche was worried that some other car company would swoop in and buy up their partner that they’d come to rely on so heavily. They claimed that they had zero interest in trying to control Volkswagen and instead were trying to hedge against some other hostile takeover by another company. Volkswagen had been struggling and the move made no sense to the average investor that was trying to make sense of the move. Despite the confusion it caused, by the end of 2006 Porsche had expanded its holdings in Volkswagen to 29.9%. By 2007 they were up to 31%, by 2008 they were up to 50%. Clearly they thought Volkswagen was a cheap company with a lot of potential. By October of 2008, Porsche stunned the world when they revealed that they had been able to acquire 74.1% of all Volkswagen shares. Luckily all of this took place in Germany, because a move such as this would have been illegal in the United States. During tougher times in 2009 when Porsche had billions of dollars due in loans and no bank wanted to touch them because of the financial melt down, Volkswagen stepped in at the last minute and let Porsche borrow a billion dollars to pay the loans. It was the perfect set up for what happened next. Porsche overnight almost went from acquiring a huge stake in Volkswagen, to needing to be bailed out by them. Ironic indeed. 

Later that year in 2009 Volkswagen AG and Porsche SE decided that they were merging the car manufacturing operations of both companies. It made sense; they were already doing so much together already and had been for decades. They merged in 2011 and formed an integrated automotive group. The Volkswagen AG management took Porsche SE management positions so that the Volkswagen AG management could maintain control and in exchange 50.75% of Volkswagen AG was to be owned by Porsche SE another part of the deal was that Porsche AG would be acquired by Volkswagen AG. It may sound confusing, but it all worked out. In just a few short years later, by 2015 the whole entity controls all sorts of companies and brands such as: Volkswagen Financial Services, Skoda, SEAT, Volkswagen, MAN, VW Commercial Vehicles, Audi, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche AG, Ducati, Bentley and Scania. Suffice it to say, they have managed to do quite well for themselves no matter how you slice it or dice it. 

Right now in production for Porsche are the Panamera, Macan, 911, Boxster, Cayenne and Cayman. They have turned over the actual production of their vehicles to a 100% subsidiary of Volkswagen AG called Dr. Ing. H.c. F. Porsche AG. 

Porsche isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. They hold the record for having the highest profit per unit sold out of any single car company in the world. On May 11, 2018 they built their one millionth 911. In honor of the event, they built an Italian green Carrera S that is being taken on a global tour before it will become a permanent fixture in the exhibit at the Porsche Museum that opened in 2009 in Stuttgart. The people have spoken and the people say they love the vehicles that Porsche makes. They are solid, reliable, sexy, sleek and fast. They were built on quality and history and truly are a car for the true car enthusiast. They are still leading the way for technology and performance. They offer something for everyone whether it’s a supercar like the 918 Spyder or a slightly more sophisticated and practical SUV like the Cayenne that is not only functional and practical but also luxurious and sporty all rolled into one. Porsche has a long-standing illustrious racing career that has earned the title after title and trophy after trophy. It’s clear that they know what they are doing and they know how to build a great vehicle.