Porsche Automobile Holding
Type Societas Europaea,
(Xetra: PAH3),
Industry Automotive
Founded 1931
Founder(s) Ferdinand Porsche
Headquarters Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Area served Worldwide
Key people Ferdinand Oliver Porsche, Founder
Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman
Martin Winterkorn, President & CEO
Products Automobiles
Services Automotive financial services, engineering services
Revenue €7,466 million (2007/8)
Operating income €8,589m (2007/8)
Profit €6,392m (2007/8)
Owner(s) Porsche family
Qatar Investment Authority (10%)
Employees 12,202 (2007)
Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH
Volkswagen AG
Porsche AG
Website Porsche-SE.com
References: scheduled to be merged under a mutual Volkswagen AG/Porsche SE "Integrated Automotive Group" in 2011[1][2]

Porsche Automobil Holding SE, usually shortened to Porsche SE (German pronunciation: [ˈpɔʁʃə][3]) a Societas Europaea or European Public Company, is a German based holding company with investments in the automotive industry.

Porsche SE is headquartered in Zuffenhausen, a city district of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg and is owned by the Piëch and Porsche families, and Qatar Holdings, through the Qatar Investment Authority (10%).[4] Through its investment in Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH, it owns 50.1% of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, which is the manufacturer of a range of sports cars and SUVs, and 50.7% of Volkswagen AG.

The company was founded as Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche,[5] an Austrian engineer born in Maffersdorf, during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Porsche's son-in-law Anton Piëch, an Austrian advocate.


Corporate structure

Porsche SE was spun out of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG (Porsche AG) in June 2007 and became a holding company for its stake in Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH (50.1%) (which in turn holds 100% of Porsche AG) and Volkswagen AG (50.7%).[6][7] Since December 2009, Porsche SE lost control Porsche Zwischenholding GmbH, which as a result is now a joint venture between Porsche SE and Volkswagen AG. In August 2009, Porsche SE and Volkswagen AG reached an agreement that the two companies would merge in 2011, to form an "Integrated Automotive Group".[1][2]

Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG (which stands for Doktor Ingenieur honoris causa Ferdinand Porsche Aktiengesellschaft), is responsible for the actual production and manufacture of the Porsche automobile line. The company currently produces Carrera (997), Boxster and Cayman sports cars, the Cayenne sport utility vehicle and the four-door Panamera. There are future models currently being developed by Porsche in Stuttgart, Germany.


Other subsidiaries and operating divisions include Porsche Consulting, Porsche Engineering, Porsche Design Group, Mieschke Hoffman (81.1%)[8] and Bertrandt (25%).[9]

Porsche Engineering Group (PEG) has for many years offered consultancy services to various other car manufacturers. Audi, Mercedes, Opel, Studebaker, SEAT, Daewoo, Subaru, Zastava Automobiles and others have consulted Porsche Engineering Group for their cars or engines. The Lada Samara[10] was partly developed by Porsche in 1984. Porsche Engineering Group also helped Harley-Davidson design the Revolution 60-degree v-twin water-cooled engine and gearbox that is used in their V-Rod motorcycle.[11]


Professor Ferdinand Porsche founded the company called "Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH" in 1931,[12] with main offices at Kronenstraße 24 in the centre of Stuttgart. Initially, the company offered motor vehicle development work and consulting,[12] but did not build any cars under its own name. One of the first assignments the new company received was from the German government to design a car for the people, a German: Volkswagen.[12] This resulted in the Volkswagen Beetle, one of the most successful car designs of all time.[13] The Porsche 64 was developed in 1939 using many components from the Beetle.[12]

Porsche's tank prototype the "Porsche Tiger" that lost to Henschel & Son's Tiger I.
Panzerjäger Tiger, after the loss of the contract to the Tiger I Porsche recycled his design into a tank destroyer.

During World War II,[14] Volkswagen production turned to the military version of the Volkswagen Beetle, the Kübelwagen,[14] 52,000 produced, and Schwimmwagen,[14] 14,000 produced. Porsche produced several designs for heavy tanks during the war, losing out to Henschel & Son in both contracts that ultimately led to the Tiger I and the Tiger II. However, not all this work was wasted, as the chassis Porsche designed for the Tiger I was used as the base for the Elefant tank destroyer. Porsche also developed the Maus super-heavy tank in the closing stages of the war, producing two prototypes.[15]

At the end of WW2 in 1945, the Volkswagen factory at KdF-Stadt fell to the British. Ferdinand lost his position as Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, and a British Army Major – Ivan Hirst was put in charge of the factory. (In Wolfsburg, the Volkswagen company magazine dubbed him "The British Major who saved Volkswagen."[16]) On 15 December of that year, Ferdinand was arrested for war crimes, but not tried. During his 20-month imprisonment, Ferdinand Porsche's son, Ferry Porsche, decided to build his own car because he could not find an existing one that he wanted to buy. He also had to steer the company through some of its most difficult days until his father's release in August 1947.[17] The first models of what was to become the 356 were built in a small sawmill in Gmünd, Austria.[17] The prototype car was shown to German auto dealers, and when pre-orders reached a set threshold, production was begun. Many regard the 356 as the first Porsche simply because it was the first model sold by the fledgling company. Porsche commissioned a Zuffenhausen-based company, Reutter Karosserie, which had previously collaborated with the firm on Volkswagen Beetle prototypes, to produce the 356's steel body. In 1952, Porsche constructed an assembly plant (Werk 2) across the street from Reutter Karosserie; the main road in front of Werk 1, the oldest Porsche building, is now known as Porschestrasse.[18] The 356 was road certified in 1948.

Porsche's company logo was based on the coat of arms of Free People's State of Württemberg of former Weimar Germany, which had Stuttgart as its capital and became part of Baden-Württemberg after the political consolidation of West Germany in 1949. Not long afterwards, on 30 January 1951, Ferdinand Porsche died from complications following a stroke.

1952 Porsche 356 K/9-1 Prototype

In post-war Germany, parts were generally in short supply, so the 356 automobile used components from the Volkswagen Beetle including its internal combustion engine, transmission, and suspension. The 356, however, had several evolutionary stages, A, B, and C, while in production, and many Volkswagen parts were replaced by Porsche-made parts. The last 356s were powered by entirely Porsche-designed engines. The sleek bodywork was designed by Erwin Komenda who also had designed the body of the Beetle. Porsche's signature designs have, from the beginning, featured air-cooled rear-engine configurations (like the Beetle), rare for other car manufacturers, but producing automobiles that are very well balanced.

In 1964, after some success in motor-racing, namely with the Porsche 550 Spyder, the company launched the Porsche 911 another air-cooled, rear-engined sports car, this time with a six-cylinder "boxer" engine. The team to lay out the body shell design was led by Ferry Porsche's eldest son, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (F. A.). The design phase for the 911 caused internal problems with Erwin Komenda, who led the body design department until then. F. A. Porsche complained Komenda made unauthorized changes to the design. Company leader Ferry Porsche took his son's drawings to neighboring chassis manufacturer Reuter. Reuter's workshop was later acquired by Porsche (so-called Werk 2). Afterward Reuter became a seat manufacturer, today known as Keiper-Recaro.

The design group gave sequential numbers to every project (356, 550, etc.), but the designated 901 nomenclature contravened Peugeot's trademarks on all 'x0x' names, so it was adjusted to 911. Racing models adhered to the "correct" numbering sequence: 904, 906, 908. The 911 has become Porsche's most well-known and iconic model – successful on the race-track, in rallies, and in terms of road car sales. Far more than any other model, the Porsche brand is defined by the 911. It remains in production; however, after several generations of revision, current-model 911s share only the basic mechanical concept of a rear-engined, six-cylinder coupé, and basic styling cues with the original car. A cost-reduced model with the same body, but 356-derived running gear (including its four-cylinder engine), was sold as the 912.

In 1972, the company's legal form was changed from Kommanditgesellschaft (KG), or limited partnership, to Aktiengesellschaft (AG), or public limited company, because Ferry Porsche and his sister, Louise Piëch, felt their generation members did not team up well.[citation needed] This led to the foundation of an Executive Board whose members came from outside the Porsche family, and a Supervisory Board consisting mostly of family members. With this change, no family members were in operational charge of the company. F. A. Porsche founded his own design company, Porsche Design, which is renowned for exclusive sunglasses, watches, furniture, and many other luxury articles. Ferdinand Piëch, who was responsible for mechanical development of Porsche's serial and racing cars, formed his own engineering bureau, and developed a five-cylinder-inline diesel engine for Mercedes-Benz. A short time later he moved to Audi, and pursued his career through the entire company, up to and including, the Volkswagen Group boards.

The Porsche 912, from the 1960s

The first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Porsche AG was Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann, who had been working in the company's engine development. Fuhrmann was responsible for the so-called Fuhrmann-engine used in the 356 Carrera models, as well as the 550 Spyder, having four overhead camshafts instead of a central camshaft with pushrods, as in the Volkswagen-derived serial engines. He planned to cease the 911 during the 1970s, and replace it with the V8-front engined grand sportswagon 928. As we know today, the 911 outlived the 928 by far. Fuhrmann was replaced in the early 1980s by Peter W. Schutz, an American manager and self-proclaimed 911 aficionado. He was then replaced in 1988 by the former manager of German computer company Nixdorf Computer AG, Arno Bohn, who made some costly miscalculations that led to his dismissal soon after, along with that of the development director, Dr. Ulrich Bez, who was formerly responsible for BMW's Z1 model, and today is CEO of Aston Martin.

In 1990, Porsche drew up a memorandum of understanding with Toyota to learn and benefit from Japanese lean production methods. In 2004 it was reported that Toyota was assisting Porsche with hybrid technology.[19]

Following the dismissal of Bohn, an interim CEO was appointed, longtime Porsche employee, Heinz Branitzki, who served in that position until Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking became CEO in 1993. Wiedeking took over the chairmanship of the board at a time when Porsche appeared vulnerable to a takeover by a larger company. During his long tenure, Wiedeking has transformed Porsche into a very efficient and profitable company.

Ferdinand Porsche's grandson, Ferdinand Piëch, was chairman and CEO of the Volkswagen Group from 1993 to 2002. Today he is chairman of the Supervisory Board. With 12.8 percent of the Porsche voting shares, he also remains the second largest individual shareholder of Porsche AG after his cousin, F. A. Porsche, (13.6 percent).

Porsche's 2002 introduction of the Cayenne also marked the unveiling of a new production facility in Leipzig, Saxony, which once accounted for nearly half of Porsche's annual output. In 2004, production of the 456 kilowatts (620 PS; 612 bhp) Carrera GT commenced in Leipzig, and at EUR 450,000 ($440,000 in the United States) it was the most expensive production model Porsche ever built.

As of 2005, the extended Porsche and Piëch families controlled all of Porsche AG's voting shares. In early October 2005 the company announced acquisition of an 18.53% stake in Volkswagen AG (VW AG), and disclosed intentions to acquire additional VW AG shares in the future. As of June 2006, the Porsche AG stake in VW AG had risen to 25.1%, giving Porsche a blocking minority, whereby Porsche can veto large corporate decisions undertaken by VW AG.

In mid-2006, after years of the Boxster (and later the Cayenne) as the dominant Porsche in North America, the 911 regained its position as Porsche's backbone in the region. The Cayenne and 911 have cycled as the top-selling model since. In Germany the 911 clearly outsells the Boxster/Cayman and Cayenne.[20]

Relationship with Volkswagen

The company has always had a close relationship with, initially, the Volkswagen (VW) marque, and later, the Volkswagen Group (which also owns AUDI AG), because the first Volkswagen Beetle was designed by Ferdinand Porsche. The two companies collaborated in 1969 to make the VW-Porsche 914 and 914-6, whereby the 914-6 had a Porsche engine, and the 914 had a Volkswagen engine, in 1976 with the Porsche 912E (USA only) and the Porsche 924, which used many Audi components, and was built at Audi's Neckarsulm factory. Porsche 944s were also built there,[21] although they used far fewer Volkswagen components. The Cayenne, introduced in 2002, shares its entire chassis with Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7, which is built at the Volkswagen Group factory in Bratislava. In late 2005, Porsche took an 18.65% stake in the Volkswagen Group, further cementing their relationship, and preventing a takeover of Volkswagen Group, which was rumoured at the time. Speculated suitors included DaimlerChrysler AG, BMW, and Renault.

On 26 March 2007, Porsche took its holding of Volkswagen AG shares to 30.9%, triggering a takeover bid under German Law. Porsche then formally announced in a press statement that it did not intend to take over Volkswagen Group (it would set its offer price at the lowest possible legal value), but intended the move to avoid a competitor taking a large stake, or to stop hedge funds dismantling Volkswagen Group, which is Porsche's most important partner.[22] Porsche's move comes after the European Union moved against a German Law that protected Volkswagen AG from takeovers. Under the so-called "Volkswagen Law", any shareholder with more than 20% of the voting rights has veto power over any corporate decision in the annual general meeting – in effect, any shareholder in VW AG cannot exercise more than 20% of the firm's voting rights, regardless of their level of stock holding. (The local state government of Lower Saxony owns 20.1% of the shares.[23]) However, the European Court of Justice ruled against the law, potentially paving the way for a takeover.[24]

On 16 September 2008, Porsche increased its shares by another 4.89%,[25] in effect taking control of the company, with more than 35% of the voting rights. It again triggered a takeover bid, but this time over Audi. Porsche dismissed the bid as a mere formality, since it is Porsche's intention to keep the corporate structure of the Volkswagen Group.

There has been some tension and anxiety amongst the Volkswagen Group workers, who fear that a Porsche takeover might signify a hardened production efficiency control, rejection of demands for payment rises or even personnel cuts.[26] Ferdinand Piëch and his cousin, Wolfgang Porsche, also seemed to be on a collision course.[26]

On 13 August 2009, Volkswagen AG's Supervisory Board signed the agreement to create an "integrated automotive group" with Porsche, led by Volkswagen AG. Volkswagen will initially take a 49.9 percent stake in Porsche AG by the end of 2009, and it will also see the family shareholders selling the automobile trading business of Porsche Holding Salzburg to Volkswagen AG.[27]

Corporate restructuring

Through the Volkswagen AG stake acquisition, Porsche reformed the company's structure, with Dr Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG becoming a holding company, renamed "Porsche Automobil Holding SE",[28] and a new Dr Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG operating company being formed in 2007.[29] Thus the operating activities are separated from holding activities of the company.[30] There was an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) for Porsche AG shareholders which took place on 26 June 2007, at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart, Germany to discuss the change to the company structure. In the late 2009 VW (Also owned by AUDI) bought the controlling rights to Porsche. T[31]

On 3 March 2007, Porsche set the stage for obtaining a plurality stake in the Volkswagen AG. One day later Porsche sought to allay fears it would attempt to force a merger with Volkswagen Group.[32] By September, Porsche owned a 35.14% plurality stake in Volkswagen AG, effectively giving it control over the company.[33] Volkswagen Group expected the move, and welcomed Porsche's investment.[34]

In October 2008, Porsche announced its intent to raise its stake in Volkswagen AG to 75% during 2009, and on 7 January 2009, Porsche's holding in VW AG was raised to 50.76%.[35] Porsche's move automatically triggered a bid for Scania AB, because VW AG already had a controlling position in the Swedish truck-maker.[36] As Porsche had no strategic interest in the company, on 19 January, they offered the minimum price in that mandatory takeover bid.[37] Porsche SE owned 50.8 percent of Volkswagen Group as of 5 January 2009, and has said it plans to lift the stake to 75 percent before the end of 2009, at that level they could bring VW AG's cash onto Porsche's books.[38]

By March 2009, Porsche SE was aiming for its first ever credit ratings from U.S. rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Moody's.[39]

In its efforts to acquire a majority holding in Volkswagen AG, Porsche built up a large debt burden, aggravated by taxes due on very large paper profits from Volkswagen AG options. By July 2009, Porsche was faced with debts exceeding 10 billion euros. The supervisory board of Porsche finally agreed to a number of arrangements whereby the Qatar Investment Authority would inject a large amount of capital, and Porsche would be merged with Volkswagen Group. On 23 July 2009, Michael Macht was appointed CEO, to replace Wendelin Wiedeking, who is expected to receive a compensation package of 50 million euros.[40][41][42][43]

In July 2010, Porsche appointed Volkswagen executive Matthias Müller to its new CEO position, moving Michael Mauer to another executive position within Volkswagen AG.

In May, 2011 Porsche North America announced plans to spend $80-100 million - but will receive about $15 million in economic incentives[44] - to move their North American headquarters from Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta, to Aerotropolis Atlanta, a new mixed-use development on the site of the old Ford Hapeville plant adjacent to Atlanta's airport. The HQ will include a new office building and test track.[45][46]

Production and sales

The headquarters and main factory are located in Zuffenhausen, a district in Stuttgart, but the Cayenne and Panamera models are manufactured in Leipzig, Germany, and parts for the SUV are also assembled in the Volkswagen Touareg factory in Bratislava, Slovakia.[47] Boxster and Cayman production was outsourced to Valmet Automotive in Finland from 1997 to 2011, after which when assembly was moved back to the German homeland.[48]

The company has been highly successful in recent times, and indeed claims to have the highest profit per unit sold of any car company in the world.[49]

Table of profits (in millions of euros) and number of cars produced. Figures from 2008/9 onwards were not reported as part of Porsche SE.[50]

year ending revenue pre-tax profit production sales
31 July 2002 €4,857m €829m 55,050 54,234
31 July 2003 €5,583m €933m 73,284 66,803
31 July 2004 €6,148m €1,137m 81,531 76,827
31 July 2005 €6,574m €1,238m 90,954 88,379
31 July 2006 €7,273m €2,110m 102,602 96,794
31 July 2007 €7,368m €5,857m 101,844 97,515
31 July 2008 €7,466m €8,569m 105,162 98,652

Production split

Of the 105,162 cars produced in the 2007/8 financial year, 34,303 (32.6%) were 911 models, 22,356 (21.3%) were Boxster and Cayman cars and 48,497 (46.1%) were Cayennes. There were 3 Panamera and 3 Carrera GT models also reported.[50] The production figures of sports cars was quite similar to the 2001/2 totals when 33,061 Porsche 911 and 21,989 Boxsters were produced.


In 2008, Porsche reported selling a total of 98,652 cars, 13,524 (13.7%) as domestic German sales, and 85,128 (86.3%) internationally.

North American sales

Annual sales 2003–2005
model 2003[51] 2004[52] 2005[53]
units % of total units % of total units % of total
911 (996) 9,935 (decrease 18%) 33% 10,227 (increase 3%) 31% 10,653 (increase 4%) 31%
Boxster 6,432 (decrease 38%) 21% 3,728 (decrease 42%) 11% 8,327 (increase 123%) 25%
Cayenne 13,661 45% 19,134 (increase 40%) 57% 14,524 (decrease 24%) 43%
total 30,028 (increase 33%) 33,289 (increase 11%) 33,859 (increase 2%)
Annual sales 2006–2008
model 2006[54] 2007[55] 2008[56]
units % of total units % of total units % of total
911 (997) 12,702 (increase 19%) 35% 13,153 (increase 4%) 36% 8,324 (decrease 37%) 30%
Boxster 4,850 (decrease 42%) 14% 3,904 (decrease 24%) 11% 2,982 (decrease 24%) 11%
Cayman 7,313 20% 6,249 (decrease 17%) 17% 3,513 (decrease 44%) 13%
Cayenne 11,141 (decrease 23%) 31% 13,370 (increase 20%) 36% 12,898 (decrease 4%) 46%
total 36,095 (increase 7%) 36,680 (increase 2%) 27,717 (decrease 24%)

Annual sales 2009–2010
model 2009[57] 2010[58]
units % of total units % of total
911 (997) 6,839 (decrease 17.8%) 35.00% 5,735 (decrease 16.1%) 22.65%
Boxster 1,909 (decrease 36.0%) 9.69% 2,177 (increase 14.0%) 8.60%
Cayman 1,966 (decrease 44.0%) 9.98% 1,322 (decrease 32.8%) 5.22%
Panamera 1,247 6.33% 7,741 (increase 520.8%) 30.57%
Cayenne 7,735 (decrease 31.0%) 39.27% 8,343 (increase 7.9%) 32.94%
total 19,696 (decrease 24.3%) 25,320 (increase 28.6%)


The current Porsche model range includes sports cars from the Boxster roadster to their most famous product, the 911. The Cayman is a hard top car similar to the Boxster. The Cayenne is Porsche's mid-size luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV). A high performance luxury saloon/sedan, the Panamera, was launched in 2009.

Note: models in bold are current models

Consumer models

Racing models

Prototypes and concept cars

Porsche Boxster concept


Porsche Diesel Super
  • Porsche Type 110
  • Porsche AP Series
  • Porsche Junior (14 hp)
  • Porsche Standard (25 hp)
  • Porsche Super (38 hp)
  • Porsche Master (50 hp)
  • Porsche 312
  • Porsche 108F
  • Porsche R22

Hybrid and electric vehicles

In 2010 Porsche launched the Cayenne Hybrid and announced the Panamera Hybrid and the concept 918 Spyder also featured a hybrid system. It had been previously thought that Porsche planned to offer an electric version of the Porsche 911 but this has not yet been formally announced.[59]

Aircraft engines

See Porsche PFM 3200.


The Martini Racing blue and green "psychedelic" livery on a 1970 917K. This car raced at Watkins Glen in 1970.

Porsche is the most successful brand in motorsport, scoring a total of more than 28,000 victories, including a record 16 constructor wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche is currently the world's largest race car manufacturer. In 2006, Porsche built 195 race cars for various international motor sports events. In 2007, Porsche is expected to construct no fewer than 275 dedicated race cars (7 RS Spyder LMP2 prototypes, 37 GT2 spec 911 GT3-RSRs, and 231 911 GT3 Cup vehicles).[60]

Pronunciation of "Porsche"

In English use, Porsche is sometimes pronounced as a single syllable ("porsh") /ˈpɔrʃ/, without a final /ə/. However, the company's German pronunciation is /ˈpɔrʃə/ por-shə[61] ("Porsh-eh"). German language words do not have a silent "e", and a final "e" in German is pronounced as an unaccented (minimal emphasis/duration) schwa.


2010 Porsche 911 (997) GT2 RS

In a May 2006 survey, Porsche was awarded the title of the most prestigious automobile brand by Luxury Institute, New York; it questioned more than 500 households with a gross annual income of at least $200,000 and a net worth of at least $720,000.[62]

Porsche was awarded the 2006, 2009, and 2010 J.D. Power and Associates award for the highest-ranked nameplate in its Initial Quality Study (IQS) of automobile brands.[63]

SUV reception

According to CNBC, even an at-the-time questionable foray into the SUV market with the Cayenne in 2003, couldn't damage Porsche credibility.[64] The Times journalist Andrew Frankel says on one level, it is the world's best 4x4, on another, it is the cynical exploitation of a glorious brand that risks long-term damage to that brand’s very identity in the pursuit of easy money[65] with his verdict being "Great car, if only it wasn't a Porsche".[65] Despite the controversy faced by critics, the Cayenne has been a success, generating enough profit for the company to invest in and upgrade the existing model range, as well as fund the Panamera project.[citation needed]

See also

Factory 1b.svg Companies portal


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