Porsche is a German automaker that was founded in 1931 as Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH. Although it was originally founded primarily to facilitate Ferdinand Porsche’s development and consultant business, the company would later expand into design work and finally into producing automobiles of its own. After maintaining a close relationship with Volkswagen over the years, Porsche was restructured as a holding company (Porsche Automobil Holding SE), and the automaker component was sold to the Volkswagen Group.

porsche logo

The Porsche logo is based upon the coat of arms of Free People’s State of Württemberg.


History of Porsche

Porsche can trace its history to a the founding of Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH, which was created in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche. This company was headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and Porsche was primarily engaged in design work and consultancy. As one of his first assignments, Porsche designed the Volkswagen Beetle.

During World War II, the Volkswagen Beetle was altered for military use, and Ferdinand Porsche created designs for several tanks. These tanks would never be made, although the designs were later retooled into tank destroyers.

At the end of the war, Porsche was arrested and imprisoned for war crimes. Although he was never tried, his son was forced to take control of the company while he was in prison. It was during this time that Ferdinand’s son, Ferry, designed and sold the company’s first automobile, the Porsche 356. The first version of this car used a number of Volkswagen Beetle parts (including most of the powertrain), although later versions used new components that were actually made by Porsche.

One of Porsche’s best-known models, the 911, first appeared in 1964. Like the 356 (and the Beetle), the 911 used a rear-mounted, air cooled engine. In fact, the 911 would continue using air cooling until 1998, when it was replaced by the water-cooled 996.

Throughout the years, Porsche retained close ties with the Volkswagen Group, with each company owning a stake in the other. In 2007, Porsche owned a 30 percent stake in Volkswagen AG, and in 2008 that was increased to more than 35 percent. Then, in 2009, the companies reached an agreement where Volkswagen eventually took complete ownership of Porsche, although the deal was technically a “restructuring” since one share of Volkswagen AG stock changed hands in addition to a large amount of cash.

Vital Porsche Statistics

Founded: 1931
Current headquarters: Stuttgart, Germany
Yearly production: 143,096 (2012)
Employees: ~17,000
Owner: Volkswagen AG

Porsche Contact Information

North America

Phone: 800.767.7243

Mailing Address
Porsche Cars North America
980 Hammond Drive
Suite 1000
Atlanta, Georgia

JD Laukkonen

JD Laukkonen turned wrenches in the north end of Seattle for a decade, so he's no stranger to the inner workings of modern automobiles. He has worked as a freelance writer since closing his shop in 2007, and he currently covers automotive technology for Lifewire.com.

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