It was founded in 1931 by Ferdinand Porsche, an Austro-Hungarian engineer born in Maffersdorf, Austria-Hungary (today Vratislavice, Czech Republic). Porsche is also known for designing the first Volkswagen, but Béla Barényi is credited with having conceived the basic design five years earlier. The company currently produces 911 (997), Boxster and Cayman sports cars and Cayenne sport utility vehicles. Porsche also makes a brand of hybrid bikes called carrera
In a May 2006 survey, Porsche was awarded the title of 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 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 the highest-ranked nameplate in its 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 parts of their production to Eastern Europe or overseas. The headquarters and main factory are still in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, but the Cayenne (and formerly the Carrera GT) is manufactured in Leipzig, Germany, parts for the SUV are assembled also in Bratislava, Slovakia. Most Boxster and Cayman production is outsourced to Valmet Automotive in Finland until 2012. 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.
Porsche has for many years offered consultancy services to various other car manufacturers. Audi, Studebaker, SEAT, Daewoo, Subaru and Yugo have consulted Porsche on engineering for their cars or engines. The Lada Samara was partly developed by Porsche in 1984. Porsche also helped Harley-Davidson design their new Evolution water cooled engine that is used in their V-Rod motorcycle, as Porsche had previous experince switching from air-cooling to water cooling.