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FROM NICHE TO NUMEROUS For its first few decades, Porsche AG lived by the philosophy of Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand's son. Ferry created the Porsche 356...


For its first few decades, Porsche AG lived by the philosophy of Ferry Porsche, Ferdinand’s son. Ferry created the Porsche 356 because no one else made a car like he wanted. did no market research, We had no sales forecasts, no return-on-investment calculations. None of that. I very simply built my dream car and fig-ured that there would be other people who share that dream." So, really, Porsche AG from the beginning was very much like its customers: an achiever that set out to make the very best.

But as the years rolled on, Porsche management became concerned with a significant issue: Were there enough Porsche buyers to keep the company afloat? Granted, the company never had illusions of churning out the numbers of a Chevrolet or a Toyota.

But to fund innovation, even a niche manufacturer has to grow a Iittle. And Porsche began to Worry that the quirky nature of the people who buy Porsches might just run out on them.

This led Porsche to extend its brand outside the box. In the early 1970s, Porsche introduced the 914, a square-ish, mid-engine, twoseater that was much cheaper than the 911. This meant that a different class of people could afford a Porsche. lt was no surprise that the 914 became Porsche's top selling model. By the late 1970s, Porsche replaced the 914 with a hatchback coupe that had something no other regular Porsche model had ever had: an engine in the front. At less than $20,000, more than $10,000 less than the 911, the 924 and later 944 models were once again Porsche's pitch to affordability. At one point, Porsche increased its sales goal by nearly 50 percent to 60,000 cars a year.

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