That office crafted designs under contract to various vehicle manufacturers. Numerous milestone products have come off the drawing boards at that office in Stuttgart. Among them were the engineering drawings for the VW “Beatle” which, after the Second World War, made Volkswagen one of the world’s largest automotive corporations. Custom development continues down to this very day as an important business unit, operating under the aegis of the Porsche Engineering subsidiary.
The development, engineering, manufacture and sale of luxury sports vehicles “made in Germany” now represent the core business for the Porsche organization. Those vehicles are distinguished by cutting-edge technology, dynamic power and a timeless classical design. The first sports car to bear the Porsche brand name was built in 1948 by Ferry Porsche (1909–1998), son of the company’s founder, in the Austrian town of Gmünd. Since 1950 the sports cars have rolled off assembly lines near the headquarters offices in the Zuffenhausen borough of the city of Stuttgart. In August of 2002 Porsche opened a second plant in Leipzig. In addition to the two current sports car series – the 911 and the Boxter – a third series is being assembled there: the powerful Cayenne SUV. The fourth model to be built by Porsche, slated to debut in 2009, is the four-door Gran Turismo Panamera. It will also be assembled at the Leipzig facility.
In September of 2005 Porsche became the largest single shareholder in the Volkswagen AG. That step was part of a clear and logical industrial strategy. Volkswagen, Europe’s largest automotive concern, is now shielded against unfriendly takeovers over the long term. Consequently, Porsche can further intensify its operative partnership with Volkswagen, proven in years of practice. At the beginning of 2008 Porsche announced its intentions to raise to over 50 per cent its share of voting stock in the Volkswagen corporation. But both companies will nonetheless remain autonomous. It was for this purpose that Porsche Automobil Holding SE was founded at the end of 2007. This forms the common roof under which the Porsche AG and the holdings in the Volkswagen AG will be managed separately.
Porsche has always acknowledged its responsibilities to society and acted in accordance with those obligations. The result has earned the firm a stellar image, one for which Porsche has been recognized many times in past years. Protection of the environment has always enjoyed high priority at Porsche. As early as 1966 the company developed efficient solutions for reducing pollutant emissions. Porsche also works consistently on lessening CO2 emissions. Each year in the past the company lowered the average CO2 output of its new vehicle fleet by 1.7 per cent. By the close of this decade Porsche will be offering a Cayenne with hybrid drive to significantly reduce fuel consumption and, as a consequence, vehicle emissions.