Exactly 60 years ago, the cornerstone was laid for a family-operated company, that would rise from modest beginnings into one of the most important sports car marques in the world.
On June 8, 1948 a new chapter in automobile history began. On this day, the first Porsche prototype (vehicle number 356-001) received its official approval and homologation for road service. "It all started when I began looking around and could not find my dream car. So I decided to build it myself," said Ferry Porsche - and to this day, his genius and pioneering spirit has shaped the philosophy of the German company.
Over the past six decades, Porsche has experienced peaks and troughs.Yet thanks to efficient production methods, clear branding and innovative models, such as the 356 and the 911, Boxster and the Cayenne, the once small sports car specialist transformed into one of the most successful and profitable automobile manufacturers in the world.
"Today, Porsche is stronger than ever. We have the broadest and most appealing automobile model range in our history. We have our costs and processes under control and have thus ensured our independence for the long term," explains Porsche CEO, Dr Wendelin Wiedeking.
When Wiedeking took over in 1992, Porsche had reached the depths of its most serious economic crisis. The company was in danger of losing its most valuable asset - independence. The company was ripe for take-over. The shareholder families, Porsche and Pich, told the Board they would lend their support. Wiedeking and his Board colleagues not only produced the Boxster, but also turned the company around through economic measures. It did not take long for the internal efforts to improve productivity and the newly-developed model line to have a positive impact. As quickly as 1995, Porsche was back in the black and began to assume a leading position by breaking new revenue, sales and earnings records.
Not only the balance sheet, but also the reputation of the Porsche brand reflects the company's exceptional position. For the fifth time in a row, top German managers from all industries have selected Porsche AG as the company with the best image in a survey by `Manager Magazin'. The `Initial Quality Study' from JD Power ranked Porsche in first place for the second time. And the JD Power `Appeal' study confirms that the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer has, for the third time in a row, been ranked by American customers as the most appealing brand.
Over these past 60 years, Porsche has worked hard to achieve this special image, mainly through innovation and also environmental protection. Porsche engineers are never satisfied with only meeting current environmental regulations, they aim to exceed them. Porsche vehicles should also set an example when it comes to environmental protection. So, as early as 1966, the first authorized emissions test in Europe was performed using a 911. Not long after, a separate department was established that tested the emission values from vehicles produced by other manufacturers.
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schrder once said: "Porsche is a model for Germany." By this, he was not only referring to the company's engineering ingenuity, he also meant the David principle by which Porsche, as a small manufacturer, has been able to keep up with the Goliaths of its industry over the last 60 years. With the quality seal "Made in Germany", its rejection of subsidies as well as its sense of social responsibility towards its employees and society, Porsche has unflinchingly pursued its own path.
This includes the step towards a new future in September 2005 when it took a majority holding in Volkswagen AG. With almost 31% of the voting share capital, Porsche is now the largest shareholder in VW. During the course of this year, its share will be increased to over 50%.
The goal of this path is clear: under the umbrella of Porsche Automobil Holding SE, not only will the growth of Porsche and Volkswagen be ensured thanks to proven development and production partnerships, but also the independence of both companies. And the Chairman of the Board, Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking promises that in the anniversary year of the Porsche sports car; "Porsche will remain Porsche in the future. Just as Volkswagen will remain Volkswagen."