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History of Porsche

Porsche Automobil Holding SE, known worldwide simply as Porsche, began as an automobile consulting firm. Ferdinand Porsche, an Austrian engineer, and his son-in-law, Anton Piech, created the company in 1931. Porsche had worked in the automobile industry for many years for companies such as Daimler and Mercedes-Benz. Through most of its early years, Porsche's company focused strictly on designs; one of its first successful designs was the now-iconic Volkswagen Beetle.

However, in the aftermath of World War II, Porsche's Volkswagen factory was captured, and Ferdinand Porsche was arrested as a war criminal. Although Porsche was never tried, he was held captive for nearly two years. During this time, Ferdinand's son, Ferry, took control of the Porsche company and began building the first car that would bear the Porsche name: the Porsche 356. By 1948, the 356 had passed road testing and the first cars were sold.

Originally, the 356 was a conglomeration of different parts; in the years immediately following World War II, parts and raw materials were difficult to acquire. The first versions of the 356 featured many parts taken from the Volkswagen Beetle, including its engine and transmission. As time went on and the situation in Germany improved, Porsche began to build more of the parts for its vehicles. By the time that the 356 was retired in 1965, the car was entirely designed and built by Porsche.

In 1963, Porsche began development of what would become its flagship vehicle: the Porsche 911. The original 911 debuted in 1964 with a 130-hp air-cooled engine. The elegant styling and powerful performance of this vehicle made it an instant success. Today, the 911 is one of the longest-running models in the automobile industry.

Although the Porsche company went public in 1984, the Porsche and Piech families maintained a controlling interest in the company. Although the company experienced growth throughout the 1980s, the market for sports cars plummeted in the early 1990s. Some analysts predicted that Porsche would be absorbed by other automakers, but the company was able to pull through this dark period by refocusing development efforts on the 911. By 1996, Porsche had recovered and produced its millionth vehicle.

Today, Porsche is stronger than ever and has started many partnerships with other automakers. Porsche has collaborated with Toyota on manufacturing techniques and hybrid technology. Recently, Porsche stepped in to help Volkswagen remain independent. This iconic sports car manufacturer is now a recognized leader in the automobile industry.