Porsche, sports cars on the stock exchange in Frankfurt

The Volkswagen Group is introducing its sports car brand on the stock exchange on Thursday. If the economic context is complex, Porsche is one of the most bankable brands in the sector.

911 million shares, referring to its iconic model. Porsche will go public this Thursday in Frankfurt (Germany), representing one of the largest IPOs in Europe this year. If the economic context is not necessarily favorable for an operation of such magnitude, the Porsche brand has many arguments to become a very attractive vehicle on the stock market.

Like the fate of Ferrari, introduced at the beginning of January 2016. Because since the first models, such as the P1 with electric traction for the legendary 911, the manufacturer from Zuffenhausen in the suburbs of Stuttgart has been able to get through crises. , reinventing itself according to fashion while maintaining a strong brand aura of engineering and innovation.

One hundred years before the Taycan, Porsche’s forerunner of the electric

If Porsche has become the VW Group’s electric mobility laboratory (hence the IPO on Thursday), the brand didn’t wait for the 2000s to try its hand at electric cars. The Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, near Stuttgart (south), presents a strange machine that looks like a stagecoach. Code name: P1. Distinctive feature: The vehicle was designed and built in 1898 by Ferdinand Porsche and had electric traction.

Two years later, the engineer presented a new hybrid “Lohner-Porsche” model, with electric propulsion via motors located in the wheel hubs. Technically perfected, the production of electric/hybrid cars was stopped in 1906 due to batteries being too heavy and too expensive compared to the petrol engine.

These models now form the link between past and present. Porsche, jealous of the performance of its petrol cars, took a long time to return to electric racing, but is reaping the first successes with its “Taycan” model released in 2019.

A sports brand above all

This research into electrification has also served Porsche in the competition. It is indeed in motorsport that the brand has acquired its aura and many technologies found in its range. Monte-Carlo Rally, Paris-Dakar race and especially 24 Hours of Le Mans: Porsche has picked up victories in motorsport.

The German manufacturer has won nineteen times at the Sarthe circuit. His first victory dates back to 1970 with the 917, the last dates back to 2017 with the 919 Hybrid. Reference in endurance, Porsche was less consistent in F1, where the team raced between 1957 and 1962 before supplying engines to McLaren in the 1980s. Tempted by a return to the league, the German firm saw its discussions with the Red Bull team fall through this summer, but is still looking for a partnership.

A Porsche logo at the factory in Stuttgart, Germany.
A Porsche logo at the factory in Stuttgart, Germany. © THOMAS KINZLE / AFP

A company of engineers

Engineer, entrepreneur, car and aviation pioneer, Ferdinand Porsche (1875-1951) is the origin of the saga. This native of the Austro-Hungarian Empire first put his genius for innovation at the service of the German group Daimler, for whom he designed the first Mercedes.

A member of the Nazi Party, he created, at Hitler’s request, the first Volkswagen (“people’s car” in German), which was to become the Beetle. A few decades later, his grandson Ferdinand Piëch inscribed his name in automotive history: a talented engineer at Porsche then Audi, head of Volkswagen from 1993 to 2002, he turned it into an international multi-brand empire including Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bugatti, until he finally took control of Porsche, after a family war. Father of 13 children, he died in 2019.

911, the perfect number
In 1963, Porsche caused a sensation by unveiling a new model with a six-cylinder engine. The imagined name, 901, is to be dropped as Peugeot claims a monopoly on three-digit numbers with a zero in the middle. Then go for the 911 combination, the beginning of a commercial saga that still lasts. With general aesthetics almost unchanged, the 911 still represents around 15% of sales.
The group devotes a cult to the number that made its legend: every phone number of the company begins with 911 after the area code. For its IPO, Porsche has of course divided its capital into 911 million shares, and the title will be traded under the symbol P911. The company intends to pay a dividend for the year 2022, which will amount to 911 million euros.

Pauline Ducamp

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