Sunday, June 10, 2007
Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, often shortened to Porsche AG, or just Porsche, is a German sports car manufacturer, founded in 1931 by then Austrian Ferdinand Porsche, the engineer who also created the first Volkswagen. The company is located in Zuffenhausen, a city district of Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg.
In a May 2006 survey, Porsche was awarded first place as the most prestigious automobile brand by Luxury Institute, New York; it questioned more than 500 households with a gross annual income of at least US $200,000 and a net worth of at least US $720,000. The current Porsche lineup 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 in a slightly higher price range. The Cayenne is Porsche's mid-size luxury SUV. The Carrera GT supercar was phased out in May 2006. Future plans include a high performance luxury saloon/sedan, the Panamera.
Porsche was awarded the 2006 J.D. Power and Associates award for highest Nameplate Initial Quality Study (IQS) of automobile brands.
As a company, Porsche is known for weathering changing market conditions with great financial stability, while retaining most production in Germany during an age when most other German car manufacturers have moved at least partly to Eastern Europe or overseas. The headquarters and main factory are still at Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, but the Cayenne (and formerly the Carrera GT) is produced at Leipzig, in former East Germany. Most Boxster and Cayman production is outsourced to Valmet Automotive in Finland. 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, although its total profits are significantly lower than Toyota's.
Porsche has for many years offered consultancy services to various other car manufacturers. Studebaker, SEAT, Daewoo, Subaru and Yugo have consulted Porsche on engineering for their cars or engines. Porsche also helped Harley-Davidson design their new engine in their newer V-Rod motorcycle.
In racing, Porsche's main rival has traditionally been Ferrari, though their production vehicles appeal to quite different personalities, if similar demographics. The rivalry is therefore primarily because of both companies' storied racing heritage and the fact that some of their vehicles are of comparable performance. Porsche has a reputation for offering equal or higher performing cars than the more expensive Ferrari models, while overall Ferrari sells far fewer cars at much higher prices (for example, there are no Ferraris under US $100,000, while several Porsches are priced below that figure).
In the daily-driver marketplace, Porsche's traditional rivals are its fellow German automakers Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW (the Boxster competes directly with the BMW Z4 and the Mercedes-Benz SLK, for instance), as well as Lotus, Jaguar, and Maserati. Ferrari, on the other hand, competes more directly with firms such as Lamborghini, Bugatti, TVR and Aston Martin.
"Porsche", a proper name, is originally pronounced as PORSH-uh, which is how members of the Porsche family pronounce their name.
Some tend to vocalize the e, which results in Por-SCHA. Others, particularly in Canada and the United States, mistakenly treat the e as silent, a pronunciation rule that applies in English and French but not in German, producing the monosyllabic, porsh.
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