Professor Ferdinand Porsche founded the company called "Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche GmbH" in 1930, with main offices at Kronenstraße 24 in the centre of Stuttgart. Initially, the company offered motor vehicle development work and consulting, but did not build any cars under its own name. One of the first assignments the new company received was from the German government to design a car for the people, a German: Volkswagen. This resulted in the Volkswagen Beetle, one of the most successful car designs of all time. The first Porsche, the Porsche 64, was developed in 1939 using many components from the Beetle.
At the end of WW2 Ferdinand Porsche's son, Ferry Porsche, decided to build his own car because he could not find an existing one that he wanted to buy. The first models of what was to become the 356 were built in a small sawmill in Gmünd, Austria. The prototype car was shown to German auto dealers, and when pre-orders reached a set threshold, production was begun.
In 1964, after some success in motor-racing, namely with the Porsche 550 Spyder, the company launched the Porsche 911 another air-cooled, rear-engined sports car, this time with a six-cylinder "boxer" engine. The team to lay out the body shell design was led by Ferry Porsche's eldest son, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (F. A.).
In 1972, the company's legal form was changed from a limited partnership, to a public limited company, because Ferry Porsche and his sister, Louise Piëch, felt their generation members did not team up well. This led to the foundation of an Executive Board whose members came from outside the Porsche family, and a Supervisory Board consisting mostly of family members. With this change, no family members were in operational charge of the company. F. A. Porsche founded his own design company, Porsche Design, which is renowned for exclusive sunglasses, watches, furniture, and many other luxury articles.
In 1990, Porsche drew up a memorandum of understanding with Toyota to learn and benefit from Japanese production methods. Currently Toyota is assisting Porsche with hybrid technology, rumoured to be making its way into a Hybrid Cayenne SUV and, announced for the 2011 model four-door coupé, the Porsche Panamera.
Porsche's 2002 introduction of the Cayenne also marked the unveiling of a new production facility in Leipzig, Saxony, which once accounted for nearly half of Porsche's annual output. The Cayenne Turbo S has the second most powerful production engine in Porsche's history, with the most powerful belonging to the Carrera GT.
In mid-2006, after years of the Boxster (and later the Cayenne) as the dominant Porsche in North America, the 911 regained its position as Porsche's backbone in the region. The Cayenne and 911 have cycled as the top-selling model since. In Germany the 911 clearly outsells the Boxster/Cayman and Cayenne.