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Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is getting 2012 underway with a world premiere: The sports car manufacturer is unveiling the Cabrio version of the new 911 for the first time at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (9 to 22 January). As one of the world's largest auto shows, the Detroit Motor Show traditionally ushers in the new automotive year. The show in the automotive capital is regarded as an important international marketplace and forum for trends and opinions that is of particular significance for the North American market.
"The USA is and remains an important market for Porsche with good growth prospects," said Bernhard Maier, Porsche AG Board of Management Member for Sales and Marketing. "Detroit was deliberately chosen for the world premiere of the new 911 Cabrio because the USA is far and away our largest 911 Cabrio market." The Coupe variant of the sports car classic will be available in the USA starting in February 2012 with the Cabriolet following a few months later, providing a fresh impetus.
In 2011, Porsche's dealers in the USA sold 29,023 Cayennes, Panameras, 911s, Boxsters and Caymans to US customers. That was 15 per cent more than in the previous year. The most successful model in 2011 was the Cayenne with 12,978 units (+55.6%). Shortly before the change of model, Porsche even managed to boost 911 sales by 4.9 per cent to 6,016 vehicles. In the New Year 2012, the Zuffenhausen company anticipates selling more than 30,000 vehicles in the United States.
To achieve this, the sports car manufacturer is fielding numerous new models in the United States: the premiere of the new 911 will be followed by the 430 hp Panamera GTS in spring. This will subsequently be followed by the Cayenne Diesel as Porsche's first compression-ignition car in the USA. The compact Cajun off-road vehicle will also be celebrating its debut in 2013.
"By building a new headquarters in Atlanta in the US State of Georgia we are underlining our growth ambitions in the region," said Bernhard Maier. The complex, adjacent to the new terminal of Atlanta's international airport, will comprise not just modern, energy-efficient offices for approximately 400 employees but also the technical service department as well as a training centre and circuit where customers can test the Porsche vehicles' outstanding driving characteristics. The new US headquarters, which will for the first time centralise all administrative, training and sales functions and financial services, is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2013. Porsche Cars North America has been based in Atlanta for the past 13 years. Porsche also plans to build an additional customer test facility in Carson in California, between the airports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Porsche is investing more than 100 million US dollars in the Atlanta head office and test facility in Carson.
For six decades, the history of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, has been inseparably associated with the worldwide enthusiasm of the Porsche Club scene. 60 years ago, on 26 May 1952, seven passionate Porsche drivers founded the Porsche Club Hohensyburg in Westphalia. According to its articles of association, the common goal of this first club was to "unite all Porsche drivers in friendship and comradeship". The creation of this first club was the foundation stone for a long and unique success story that has become a global phenomenon.
In the early Fifties, it was still a rarity to encounter a Porsche on the open road. This resulted in a greater sense of solidarity between owners not just in Germany. The Porsche Clubs' international success story begins in 1953 with the founding of the Porsche Club Belgium. Two years later a private group of American Porsche customers, who were providing one another with technical support, spawned the Porsche Club of America, which nowadays represents the largest Porsche Club organisation in the world. And in 1961, in Great Britain, enthusiasts of the Zuffenhausen sports car brand founded the Porsche Club Great Britain, which has now developed into the largest Porsche Club organisation in Europe. Today, the 640 officially recognised Porsche Clubs with their approximately 181,000 members from more than 75 countries constitute the world's largest automotive sector brand club.
The Porsche Clubs live the Porsche brand, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Club members' high voluntary commitment makes them important brand ambassadors and thus part and parcel of the Porsche brand. That is why the Porsche Museum is honouring the Clubs' 60th anniversary with a special exhibition. From 26 May to 26 August 2012, the sports car manufacturer will be looking back on six decades replete with exciting club activities. Not only will Club members' special vehicles be on show but special photographs, documents and small exhibits will also relate their personal stories and experiences.
In addition, all museum visitors will be invited to select the most beautiful exhibit as part of a "Concours d'Elegance". The choice is between twelve different vehicles, including the twelfth Porsche 356 produced in Zuffenhausen, a Porsche 968 Turbo S and a Porsche 911 Turbo Targa. Dr. Wolfgang Porsche as well will be providing a rare vehicle from his private collection for the special exhibition: a 911 Turbo S (993). Moreover, a 1970 Porsche 914/6 GT will be on show, as will a Porsche 911 S "Club Coupe" that was brought out in a limited edition of 50 units exclusively for American Club members to mark the 50th anniversary of the Porsche Club of America.
The museum shop will be offering a selection of special items for sale: the new volume "60 years of Porsche Clubs" by in-house publisher "Edition Porsche Museum" introduces the reader to the history of the Porsche Clubs in approximately 180 pages. The book acquaints the reader with the most interesting, beautiful and spectacular Club moments. The book is available in German and English for 14.90 euro. Also, the museum shop is offering a metal "grill badge" on the occasion of the Clubs' 60th anniversary that can be affixed to the air intake grille on historic Porsche models. The "grill badge" is approximately 95 millimetres in diameter and costs 35.00 euro. An anniversary pin is also available, priced at 5.00 euro.
The Porsche Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is eight euro for adults and four euro for concessions. There is free admission for children under the age of 14, accompanied by an adult. Additional information is available online.
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, is mourning Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. The Honorary President of the Supervisory Board died on 5 April 2012 in Salzburg, aged 76. Matthias Muller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Porsche AG, paid tribute to Ferdinand Alexander Porsche's services to the sports car manufacturer: "We mourn the death of our partner, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. As the creator of the Porsche 911, he established a design culture in our company that has shaped our sports cars to this very day. His philosophy of good design is a legacy to us that we will honour for all time."
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was born in Stuttgart on 11 December 1935, the oldest son of Dorothea and Ferry Porsche. Even his childhood was shaped by cars, and he spent much of his time in the engineering offices and development workshops of his grandfather Ferdinand Porsche. In 1943 the family accompanied the Porsche company's move to Austria, where he went to school in Zell am See. After returning to Stuttgart in 1950, he attended the private Waldorf school. After leaving school, he enrolled at the prestigious Ulm School of Design.
In 1958, F.A. Porsche, as he was known by his colleagues, joined the engineering office of what was then Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche KG. He soon proved his great talent for design by sculpting the first model of a successor to the 356 model line out of plasticine. In 1962 he took over as head of the Porsche design studio, creating a worldwide furore one year later with the Porsche 901 (or 911). With the Porsche 911, F.A. Porsche created a sports car icon whose timeless and classical form survives to this very day in what is now the seventh 911 generation. However, in addition to passenger cars, F.A. Porsche also concerned himself with designing the sports cars of the 1960s. His best-known designs include the Type 804 Formula One racing car or the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS, now considered to be one of the most beautiful racing cars ever.
In the course of the conversion of Porsche KG into a joint-stock corporation in 1971/72, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, along with all the other family members, stood down from the company's front-line business operations. In 1972 he founded the "Porsche Design Studio" in Stuttgart, the head office of which was relocated to Zell am See in Austria in 1974. In the decades that followed, he designed numerous classic gentlemen's accessories such as watches, spectacles and writing implements that achieved global recognition under the "Porsche Design" brand. In parallel, with his team, he designed a plethora of industrial products, household appliances and consumer durables for internationally renowned clients under the brand "Design by F.A. Porsche". A strong and clear design concept typifies all product designs created in his design studio to date. The credo of his design work was: "Design must be functional and functionality has to be translated visually into aesthetics, without gags that have to be explained first." F.A. Porsche: "A coherently designed product requires no adornment; it should be enhanced by its form alone." The design's appearance should be readily comprehensible and not detract from the product and its function. His conviction was: "Good design should be honest."
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche received numerous honours and awards both for his work as a designer as well as for individual designs. For example, in 1968 the "Comité Internationale de Promotion et de Prestige" honoured him for the outstanding aesthetic design of the Porsche 911 while the Industrial Forum Design Hannover (iF) voted him "Prizewinner of the Year" in 1992. In 1999, the President of Austria bestowed on him the title of Professor.
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche retained a close lifelong association with Porsche AG as a partner and member of the Supervisory Board. For example, even after stepping down from front-line business operations, he contributed to the design of Porsche's sports cars over many decades and repeatedly steered the company in the right direction. This was especially the case for the difficult period Porsche experienced at the beginning of the 1990s. From 1990 to 1993, F.A. Porsche served as President of the company's Supervisory Board, thus playing a major role in Porsche A.G's economic turnaround. In 2005, he stood down from his Supervisory Board role in favour of his son Oliver and assumed the mantle of Honorary President of the Supervisory Board.
Ferdinand Alexander Porsche will be buried in the family grave at Schuttgut in Zell am See, attended by his immediate family. An official funeral service will be held in Stuttgart at a later date.
As of today, Porsche has begun partially producing its Boxster model at Volkswagen Osnabruck GmbH. This step is necessary, as Porsche's main factory in Stuttgart does not have enough capacity to cope with demand. In Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen the new Porsche 911 and the new Boxster are being made in a mixed model operation on one production line.
The first vehicle to roll off the line was an Indian red Boxster S with a black soft top. It is destined for a customer in Lower Bavaria. In attendance for the start of Boxster production in Osnabruck were Minister President of Lower Saxony David McAllister, Lord Mayor of Osnabruck Boris Pistorius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn as well as President and CEO of Porsche AG Matthias Muller. "Taking on production of the Boxster here in Osnabruck shows that the site has established itself within the Volkswagen Group as a centre of excellence for cabriolet and small series production. I am delighted that as of today rolling of our production line here in Lower Saxony will be Porsche vehicles that stand for premium quality 'Made in Germany' all around the world," emphasised Minister President McAllister.
Lord Mayor Pistorius appreciated the significance of the Porsche commission for the city. "The Boxster brings an important additional boost for business in Osnabruck, safeguards jobs and confirms the skills of the workforce in our city, where cars have been made for over 100 years."
Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG Prof. Dr. Winterkorn said at the production start: "The Boxster production in Osnabruck is a clear sign of the rapid coalescence of Volkswagen and Porsche. Production in Osnabruck means creating synergies that will benefit customers, staff and location alike."
Porsche President and CEO Muller explained: "Due to the way things are in Stuttgart there is no easy way to expand our main factory. Over the next few years, we will be fully utilising our own production capacity predominantly with the 911 model. We therefore looked for a partner for producing the Boxster. The decisive factor in our choice was the great expertise of the workforce at Volkswagen Osnabruck. Our sports cars are in very good hands there. After all, we all have the same concept of quality. Osnabruck will become a part of our success story."
This is not the first time that vehicles have been produced for Porsche in the Lower Saxony factory, for example, car bodies were made here for the 356 hardtop coupe in the 1960s and for the Porsche 968 in the nineties. From 1969 to 1975, over 115,000 Porsche 914s were also fully assembled in Osnabruck. And while following the start of full production the new Boxster was initially made solely in Stuttgart, Volkswagen Osnabruck GmbH has been supplying the rear and side parts of the car from the outset.