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    Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

     This thread will explain what happened at Porsche from the time when it dominated everything about fast cars - production and track till now. I will use reports that were written at the time of the events so that you can read the actual facts as they happened. 

    I lived all these times, I drove 911's in the 80's, I stood 5 feet from Niki Lauda in the pits at an F1 race and a couple feet from a Porsche TAG turbo engine. I will include comments but will let you read the news. Many interesting stories here including the modernization of Porsche production and just how bad sales were. 

    This was interesting to research. The reason I did so was because there simply is too much dis-information in threads and discussions all over the net about why things happened or what people believe. Too many don't know the facts because they did not live them.

    If you are interested in Porsche you will benefit from reading this. If you do not know these facts and stories you will come off as a BS artist when talking about Porsche  This is not a book just an brief but fairly complete account of the critcal times that shaped what Porsche has become and some detail on the 928 era at Porsche.

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    This looks to be one of the most promising threads!

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance



    Porsche AG troubles in the 2nd half of the 80's and early 90's. - Porsche sales boomed in the early 80's as did success in the racing program. It all peaked in 1985. In 1986 some key markets especially those that bought the higher end models began to hurt. Texas was in an oil slump, California's high tech industry faltered, then the stock market crash of 87 followed by a long recession and currency rate difficulties.
    This led to a series of management changes, lack of direction, the end of racing success, very poor sales and losses in the early 1990's. Below are reports from the period that spell out everything in great detail.

    From published reports;

    Saying Porsche Cars has a problem is akin to describing the Edsel as "different." From a peak in 1986, when the parent Porsche A.G. sold about 30,000 automobiles in America and 55,000 worldwide, sales plunged in 1993 to about 3,800 in America and 19,000 worldwide.

    Published: Thursday, January 25, 1990

    Porsche A.G., the West German maker of sports cars, has turned the corner after a two-year slump, with earnings doubling in the fiscal year ended July 31, the company said today.

    The company said it had achieved the stronger performance despite production problems and the introduction of four new models.

    The Stuttgart-based Porsche reported earnings of 54.2 million marks, or $32.3 million, for the year, compared with 25.3 million marks, or $15 million, in the previous year. Revenue rose only slightly, to 2.53 billion marks, or $1.5 billion, from 2.48 billion, or $1.48 billion.

    The rise in earnings was attributed to a combination of a cost-cutting program, which reduced the 8,000-person work force by about 500 over the last two years, and an emphasis on more expensive and profitable cars. The new strategy was put into place when earnings and sales slumped after the 1987 stock market crash.

    In the latest fiscal year, Porsche reduced production of its less expensive 924 and 944 cars and introduced four restyled models. Customers have welcomed the new models, and orders are significantly above last year, the company said.

    COMPANY NEWS; Porsche Cuts Staff In U.S. by 23%
    By AP
    Published: Saturday, August 31, 1991

    Porsche Cars North America Inc., a marketing operation of the German maker of luxury sports cars, laid off 23 percent of its staff, citing a depressed auto market. The layoffs affect 77 of the operation's 339 workers.

    "This is a clear indication of how hurtful the luxury tax has been, on top of the effects of the recession, in our key markets," the company's president, Brian Bowler, said. Through the first seven months of this year, 2,844 Porsche cars have been sold, 51.6 percent fewer than last year. Sales by other makers of luxury cars, especially European ones, have lagged substantially behind last year, including a 52.3 percent decline for Jaguar, a 44.5 percent drop for Audi and a 22.1 percent decrease for Mercedes-Benz. Earlier this year, Peugeot of France and Sterling Motor Cars of England withdrew from the United States market.

    Porsche Cars North America Inc. said yesterday that Brian Bowler, its president and chief executive, had resigned suddenly and that Frederick J. Schwab, a senior executive vice president with years of experience in international management, had been named as Mr. Bowler's successor. The company said Mr. Bowler had resigned over "differences over the direction of the company's future efforts in the important United States market."
    Porsche's strategy for the American market has left many analysts uncertain. Several years ago, the company introduced its 924 model, entering the $20,000-to-$30,000 price range. But it started to move gradually into the higher price range and away from new Japanese competition, with its cars costing between $44,500 and almost $99,000 for 1992. (guess what costs 99,000)

    IN 1992, in the grip of a recession, Porsche sales plummeted from their peak in the 1980s. Owning a Porsche was suddenly outré. Costs had spun out of control, the family was squabbling, chief executives were coming and going, and Porsche seemed destined to lose its independence.
    “We were this close to the precipice,” Mr. Porsche said, putting his fingers inches from the edge of a table. He leaned on family members to promote a young production executive, Mr. Wiedeking, who had returned to Porsche after three years running an auto parts supplier.
    The new boss brought in Japanese managers, mostly from Toyota, to lecture the Porsche workers about efficiency. At the behest of one Japanese visitor, Mr. Wiedeking took a saw and cut down shelves stocked with parts — a vivid demonstration that he was serious about reducing inventory and costs.That makes Porsche less dependent on the United States, which in the mid-1980s accounted for 60 percent of its sales. (Remember when Tom Cruise let his father’s Porsche 928 roll into Lake Michigan in the film “Risky Business”?

    Published: Wednesday, June 3, 1992
    The luxury sports car maker, Porsche A.G. of Germany, will cut its work force by another 850 employees in the year beginning Aug. 1, officials said yesterday. Porsche, which currently employs about 8,500 people, has already eliminated 550 nonproduction jobs this year.

    Porsche has been troubled by falling sales and profits. While labor officials said they recognized the need for further cutbacks, they said Porsche should continue to rely on attrition rather than layoffs to trim its work force. Separately, Porsche said group sales for the year ending July 31 would show a 19 percent decline to $1.56 billion from $1.93 billion in the previous year. Arno Bohn, chairman of Porsche's management board, said the company would remain profitable.

    BUSH stay the course recession

    A Stretch of Bad Road Germany's Porsche A.G. makes sports cars that are pretty, pricey and fast. That's a tough market to be in right now. Thanks to the weak global economy, Porsche's sales fell 15 percent in the year ended July 31, to $1.9 billion. Last week, Porsche said it would eliminate 1,000 jobs and restructure itself. With these and other cuts, Porsche will have eliminated 20 percent of its work force, bringing it to 6,200 by mid-1993. Though Porsche has a deal with Daimler Benz to assemble the ultra-luxurious Mercedes 500E, that car's sales are also falling. Analysts wonder if Porsche can continue to exist on its own. "Maybe Daimler or some other auto maker will take a stake in Porsche," said Peter Fliegel, who follows the company for Berwein Wertpapierhandels-und Boersenmakler, a brokerage in Munich.

    Some difficulties were certainly attributable to soaring prices as the German mark grew weaker and the American dollar stronger. The 911 Carrera, reaching dealer showrooms next month, starts at $59,900 -- $5,000 less than its predecessor.

    But most Porsche-ophobia was caused by perceptions the car was emblematic of the materialistic, free-spending 1980's -- and therefore out of synch with the value-conscious 1990's. Porsche Cars was among many marketers of 1980's totems that changed agencies in the 1990's, including BMW of North America and Mercedes-Benz of North America.

    "The car has carried the imagery of an overblown status symbol," acknowledged Jeff Goodby, who with Rich Silverstein is co-chairman and co-creative director at the agency.

    "People who didn't buy them had certain reactions to people who did," he added. "So it's obvious what had to happen: The car had to be taken out of the realm of something that had an off-putting aura and back to being something that worked and performed well, the best thing of its kind, like a Mont Blanc pen."


    Putting Porsche in the Pink
    Published: Saturday, January 20, 1996
    Not too long ago, the production floor of Porsche's factory was not a pretty sight. Workers would storm off in a huff. Managers would fume. Voices would rise above the hum and bang of the line.

    And Japanese engineers -- mostly Toyota alumni -- would wave their fingers, demand explanations, scold, lecture and browbeat, essentially telling some of Germany's finest automobile craftsmen how poorly they were doing their jobs.

    Had the pride of German auto makers bowed under the dominance of the efficient Japanese? Sort of. What was in process was the salvation of Porsche A. G., Germany's ultimate symbol of racing car performance and autobahn freedom.

    From the dizzying heights of the mid-1980's when American yuppies, not to mention staid German executives, had to have one, Porsche went to the brink of bankruptcy in 1992. Recession had crippled sales, and costs were out of control. Turning to the Japanese, with their "lean" manufacturing techniques, was considered its only hope of making a profitable car and avoiding the ever-rumored takeover by BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Volkswagen.

    "It was the biggest shock for the company to accept that Japanese were walking around, not able to speak either the Schwabian dialect or German, and telling people what to do," said Wendelin Wiedeking, Porsche's 43-year-old chief executive. "They were tough guys. They were absolutely aggressive to the people. And we wanted it that way."

    The remaking of Porsche using Japanese manufacturing techniques has a significance beyond the company. For years, German auto makers, feeling the pinch of more efficient Japanese producers, have tried to adopt elements of just-in-time lean manufacturing and to get high-paid German workers to be more flexible. But changes have been modest at best, leading many auto executives to vow they will never open a new car plant in Germany again.

    "Germany looked at Japan and said, 'Yes, but we can't do it here; we won't do it here,' " said Daniel T. Jones, a professor at the Cardiff Business School in Wales. "Porsche had no choice. And having done it, the argument that other auto makers ought to be following their lead becomes irresistible."

    Feelings may have been hurt, but Porsche survived -- not only as a cachet name in German automobiles, but as the last remaining independent European manufacturer of sports cars. The company recently reported its first profit in four years, after $300 million in losses.

    "That profit guaranteed our independence," said Michael Macht, head of Porsche Consulting, which the car maker formed to spread the Japanese manufacturing concepts it learned. "This is not a turnaround. It is a new company."

    Today peace prevails on the Porsche line. The production changes imposed by the Shin-Gijutsu group, the cadre of former Toyota engineers to whom Porsche turned for advice three years ago, mean that more cars are produced faster by fewer people without losing technical sophistication and road performance.

    And having put the losses behind it, the company can concentrate on developing new models and new markets. Porsche already has orders for 10,000 units of its new roadster, the Boxster, which it plans to introduce later this year as its least-expensive model. In 1997 it will roll out a new version of the famed 911. And the company is in discussions with other auto makers about possibly producing a high-performance off-road vehicle, a minivan and a small low-priced sports car.

    The team of Japanese consultants now returns only about four times a year -- "to scold us," Mr. Macht said. But the innovations the Japanese initiated are being continued by the German engineers. Workers on the line submit 2,500 suggestions a month.

    The factory is clean and quiet, its huge six-cylinder motors built with remarkable efficiency. Nobody stands around. No half-built engines sit to the side of the assembly line. And there are no bins of spare parts through which workers have to dig. The parts needed for assembly hang on carts that are pulled down the line with the engines, so that workers do not have to leave their work space.

    Porsche management says the efficiency improvements are measured in more than just the company's return to profitability. It has reduced the assembly time for one of its speedsters from 120 hours to 72. The number of errors per car has fallen 50 percent, to an average of three. The work force has shrunk 19 percent, to about 6,800 employees from more than 8,400 in 1992. The line itself has been shortened and inventories have been cut back so much that factory space has been reduced by 30 percent. All this means Porsche is making more cars at lower cost.

    Much of the credit for the remaking of Porsche is given to Mr. Wiedeking, a self-confident, direct hands-on manager who started as an engineer at Porsche in the 1980's and then left to run an automobile parts maker.

    The company's family owners spent much of the 1980's warring with their appointed chief executives, eventually dismissing several. The family was often in the news and in gossip columns over their personal lives.

    But no matter. The boom times early in the decade fueled sales, which soared to more than 50,000 a year.

    Then the recession of the early 1990's hit. Porsche sales plummeted to 14,000 units in 1993, including a paltry 3,000 in the United States, its largest market. The family paused in its feuding to call in Mr. Wiedeking for help.

    From the beginning, he says, his idea was to bring in the Japanese. First, he eliminated one-third of his managers and gave those remaining new assignments, so they would be struggling to learn new jobs -- "rather than waiting for me to make a mistake."

    Next he took his management team on extensive tours of Japanese auto plants. They timed precisely how long it took Porsche to assemble body parts and engines and install carpeting and dashboards, then studied the comparable times in Japan. On most tasks, Porsche was taking almost twice as long.

    "On those trips a lot of people said, 'I did 20 years of work and it's all garbage now.' " Mr. Wiedeking said. "It gave us an understanding of what had to be done."

    The arrival of the Japanese in late 1992 was indeed painful. One of the engineers, Chihiro Nakao, says they were always polite to the workers but often sharp with the managers.

    Porsche's assembly line, he says, looked like a dark warehouse when the Japanese arrived. On either side were shelves eight feet high with huge parts bins filled with 28 days of inventory. To get a part, workers often had to climb ladders, wasting enormous amounts of time.

    First off, the shelves were cut in half and inventory reduced to seven days. Eventually the parts bins were eliminated entirely; Porsche engineers created a remarkably low-tech, but highly efficient parts supermarket in the basement of the factory. There, workers hook only the parts needed for each stage of assembly onto carts. The carts are then sent up to the line and accompany the car until they are used up, when they return to the basement to be refilled.

    "Even the Japanese are interested in this system," Mr. Wiedeking said.

    What is ultimately revolutionary for Porsche's auto makers is the redefinition of craftsmanship.

    "The traditional craftsmanship for which Germany became famous was filing and fitting parts so that they fit perfectly," Professor Jones said. "But that was wasted time. The parts should have been made right the first time. So the new craftsmanship is the craftsmanship of thinking up clever ways of making things simpler and easier to assemble. It is the craft of creating an uninterrupted flow of manufacturing."

    The company now has been able to turn its focus to product development. The 2-seat Boxster -- a roadster with Porsche's traditional flat, six-cylinder with opposing, or boxing, cylinders -- will cost about $50,000, compared with about $64,500 for a 911 coupe. Porsche hopes the Boxster will add younger professionals to its customer base of wealthy professionals and business people over 40.

    Porsche still hopes to strip another 10 hours off car-assembly time, according to Mr. Wiedeking, a goal that would make the company comparable to the best Japanese auto makers. And Porsche is working with its suppliers to cut costs and improve quality and deliveries.

    But the Boxster will be the true test of Porsche's campaign of self- renewal. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Fiat and Rover have all introduced new two-seaters in recent months, or plan to soon.

    For ten years Fred Schwab was “Mister Porsche” in the USA and Canada. Under his leadership PCNA continually extended its position as the most important sales company at Porsche AG. As the sales figures for 1992/93 only accounted for 3,700 sports cars, the last fiscal year 2001/02 saw this figure rise to more than 23,100 car sales in the USA and Canada. Thus, under his auspices, the North American continent advanced to become the most important sales market for Porsche cars in the world.

    My comments

    Sales of Porsche cars in the US excluding the 928 model fell from 27,620 in 1986 to 3,070 in 1993 (1000 968). That is an 87% drop in 911 and entry model sales. It is interesting to note that car sales have NEVER recovered. In 2006 Porsche sold 23,000 997, cayman, and boxsters combined in the US and Canada. More than 4,000 below the sales of cars in the US alone in 1986.

    It is a myth to say that the market or the customer gave up on the 928 when the 911 model had just as dramatic a fall and now 20 years later has not returned to previous levels.

    In 1985 Porsche had sales of 25,300 cars in the US of which 2580 were 928, 6200 were 944, and 16,500 were 911.Does the drop from 16,500 in 1985 to just 2,000 911's in 1993 say that the buyer no longer liked the 911? Or does it just illustrate how tough the luxury sports car market had become.

    US porsche sales numbers for 1985 - 85 total 25300. Individual models 944 - 6200 units, 928 - 2580 units, 911 - 16500 units.

    The peak in 1986 was achieved with the introduction of the 944 turbo. 911 sales were lower.

    It is confirmed to me what I always thought after doing this research. The 944 was a tremendous entry level vehicle, priced right for the times and different enough in looks, performance, and price to go after a much different segment of the market than the 911.


    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance


    The pinnacle of Porsche was the mid 1980's- dominant in Le Mans style racing, dominant in Formula 1, dominant in sports car production.

    wikipedia 1970–1981

    The Porsche 917, 935, and 936 were dominant throughout the decade, but a resurgence by French manufacturers Matra-Simca and Renault saw the first victories for the nation since the 1950 race. This decade is also remembered for strong performances from many privateer constructors, with two scoring the only victories for a privateer. John Wyer's Mirage won in 1975 while Jean Rondeau's self-titled chassis took 1980.

    The dominant Group C formula Porsche 962s.

    The rest of the 1980s was known for the dominance by Porsche under the new Group C race car formula which pushed for fuel efficiency. Originally running the effective 956, it was later replaced by the 962. Both chassis were cheap enough for privateers to purchase them en masse, leading to the two chassis winning six years in a row. Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz returned to sports car racing, with Jaguar being the first to break Porsche's dominance with victories in 1988 and 1990

    Monday, February 23, 1987
    Earlier this month Porsche dominated the 24-hour sports car race at Daytona, sweeping the first five places in the opening event on the International Motor Sports Association's Camel GT calendar.The victory, by a 962-model prototype racer, driven by the team of Al Holbert, Chip Robinson, Al Unser Jr. and Derek Bell, was the 10th in a row for the German automaker in the longest race in America.

    June 16, 1985, Sunday

    Alain Prost of France will be trying for his third victory in five races today as the Formula One auto-racing circuit starts its annual North American swing with the running of the Labatts Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. Prost drove his TAG-Porsche-powered McLaren to victory in the season-opening race ..



    Published: Monday, June 15, 1987
    A Porsche driven by the defending champions, Hans Stuck of West Germany, Derek Bell of Britain and Al Holbert of the United States, won the 55th Le Mans 24-hour race today by the second-biggest margin in the race's history.

    The Porsche 962 finished more than 168 miles ahead of the second-place car. Only a 217-mile victory in 1927 by a Bentley was larger. The winning entry covered 2,977 miles at an average speed of more than 124 miles per hour.

    Bell moved into second place among all-time Le Mans winners with five victories; only Jacky Ickx of Belgium is ahead of him with six.

    Second place went to a Porsche 962 driven by Jurgen Lassig of West Germany, Pierre Yver of France and Bernard de Dryer of Belgium

    Published: Sunday, July 1, 1990

    Within the next few weeks, Porsche is expected to decide whether to continue its Indy-car program next year. Last week, Derrick Walker, the team's general manager, put very little gilding on his prognosis for 1991.

    ''We've always said that the two most important factors in determining the future of this team would be results and money,'' said Walker, who kept his team in Portland, Ore., for some testing after the Indy-car race there last Sunday.

    The Porsche team, based in Warrington, Pa., is still trying to renegotiate with its current sponsor for next season or find another sponsor, Walker said.

    So much for the money. And the results?

    ''Right now, we've got no results,'' Walker said. Walker's team isn't doomed yet.

    ''I've just come back from Germany, and there's no firm plans either way,'' he said.

    After winning its first race ever last season, the Porsche team seemed ready to challenge for the title this year. But it made two major gambles with its chassis design. One of them, an attempt to build the first all carbon-fiber Indy-car chassis, was shot down by Championship Auto Racing Teams, the Indy-car sanctioning group.

    The other gamble was relocating the turbocharger and part of the gearbox for better weight distribution. So far, the chassis has shown speed but not reliability.

    ''This is not Porsche's image we're building here,'' Walker said, alluding to the fact that the team's best finishes so far this year have been a pair of sevenths, one each by Teo Fabi and John Andretti, the team's two drivers.

    Walker said the Porsche headquarters in West Germany had a number of 1991 racing programs competing for financing. It will definitely build a Formula One engine, and if it wants to regain competitive status in worldwide sports-car racing and the International Motor Sports Association's Camel GT series in the United States, it will need to rework its tired 962 model, which can no longer compete with Mercedes, Jaguar and Nissan.

    Still, it would be a shame to see Walker's team go. The Porsche engine is the only one capable of challenging the Chevy (and indeed may be more powerful), and Walker runs a first-class operation.

    September 19, 1990
    As had long been rumored, Porsche yesterday announced that it would end its Indy-car racing program at the end of this season. The West German automaker has built engines to compete in the Championship Auto Racing Teams Indy-car circuit and the Indianapolis 500 for three years and has one victory and 29 top-10 finishes in 44 races.

    My Comments
    Porsche domination of endurance racing at Le Mans ended in 1987, with 1 more factory win in 1998 for the GT1. Porsche domination of Formula 1 ended with the rules changes that first limited power in the Turbo engines and then eliminated the Turbo's completely. As seen above in the report Porsches attempt at Indycar was stopped as a result of the budget crisis brought by the slumping sales during the Bush recession.

    Porsche's racing success gained the company headlines around the world which put their name in front of non-racing fans. Successful individuals reading the sports pages would see the name Porsche associated with success in Formula 1 and at Le Mans. It is no accident that Porsches' sales peak happened at the same time that their racing success also peaked.  

    Is it a coincidence that Ferrari's best sales have come at a time when they dominate Formula 1? It is also true that both companies had their most impressive car line-ups during their racing success.


    Porsche needed to concentrate their efforts in racing in 1 arena. In the late 1980's they were spread too thin amongst F1, Endurance, and Indycar. F1 success would have gained the most recognition, but to succeed they needed to  acquire a sponsor like Ferrari did with Marlboro. The small profits of the late 80's and the losses of the early 90's made most efforts nearly impossible.

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    THE FLAGSHIP  - THE 928 


    Dr. Ernst Fuhrmann - the driving force behind the 928 -was the first chairman of Porsche AG from 1972 to 1980. He was also the creator of the carrera engine in the 356 and 550.

    "Give us credit that we learned a bit during the 20 or so years that we built the rear engine sports car and we had a few ideas how to improve on it. That's why 911 drivers don't like the 928, it doesn't feel like it’s handling properly because the onset of all the bad habits of the 911 are pushed much higher up the overall performance curve. It is very hard to make it do the bad things a 911 chassis will do and so it’s perceived to be sluggish or heavy. In fact if you look at the speedometer or tachometer you are actually eating up the terrain at a much higher level with more confidence. That was our goal." 
    -- Tony Lapine PORSCHE design chief

    They considered many designs, including rear and mid-engine layouts, but ultimately it was decided that maximum passenger comfort dictated a front-engine, RWD layout. A transaxle would help the new Porsche achieve a "perfect" 50/50 weight distribution. 


    Only a completely un-informed noob would doubt the 928's position as the intended and actual Flagship of the Porsche line, here a just a few references (see below). No one with intelligence doubts the Corvette is the flagship of the Chevrolet brand even though it is way out-sold by other chevy models. Is a nova the flagship of chevy? ;


    928 mag.jpeg

    By MARSHALL SCHUON (The New York Times); Sports Desk

    March 3, 1985, Sunday

    ...... latest entry, an outrageously fast Porsche 928-S. ...first year for the ''S'' version of Porsche's production flagship, and its larger...


    When the 928 was released, it was unquestionably the flagship of the Porsche range. It cost more than the 911 (by a considerable sum), and featured so many enticing features that meant it could play no other part in the range. Features that included the captivating, and crowd-splitting, styling, the slightly odd standard-fit Pirelli P7 tyres, the luxurious interior, comprising of super-ergonomic seats, sweeping dashboard and high levels of equipment. The spec sheet featured air conditioning, leather trim and electric windows and mirrors all as standard fitment - which was up there with the most luxurious cars produced by prestige manufacturers

    By Leonard Kucinski
    The Morning Call
    February 18, 1989
    It has been said money can't buy everything. Lots of it, though, can certainly buy a fine car. Case in point: the Porsche 928 S4, the flagship of the Porsche line and, at more than $75,000 a pop, a car not likely to be encountered at every intersection.
    The 928 is for those who have arrived and aren't ashamed to flaunt it. Here's a car whose price brings out the true meaning of the phrase ''sticker shock.''
    For all of its power and performance (which we will get to quickly), the 928 is not really a difficult car to drive. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, its easy going nature has been criticized by some of the so-called driving experts of enthusiast magazines. Why, I really don't know. Perhaps they are afraid they aren't the only ones to be able to drive them. The rear engine 911can be tricky but the 928 (especially if equipped with a four-speed automatic such as the test car) makes it seem easy.

    In other words, a person who really doesn't care that much about driving but does want to be seen in a 928, won't have any problems. That is, of course, if he/she knows his/her limitations and doesn't try to get creative. On the other hand, it has all the characteristics desired by the real damn- the-torpedoes, full-speed ahead driving enthusiast. If you have the ability, the 928 has more than enough capability.

    what other published writers thought




    tidbit - The 928 achieved some racing records, such as a world record 24 hours at 250 kph (150 mph)
    including fuel stops and tire changes. To achieve this record the car averaged 285 kph (167 
    mph) when moving.

    It's Competitor - Ferrari





    FEATURE ARTICLE from Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car
    Ferrari 308 vs. Porsche 928

    For Ferrari, it was the 308, the first V-8-powered road car to roll out of Maranello bearing the company's name. For Porsche, it was the 928, a two-plus-two coupe that threw decades of tradition out the window with its water-cooled, front-mounted V-8, the company's first. Both promised hedonistic levels of luxury and performance for those who could write the sizable check. But only one would lead the way to the future.  

    Priced at $28,500, about 50 percent more than a 911, the 928 took its place in Porsche's range alongside the 911SC, the 930 Turbo, and the 924-which, although it was the first front-engine Porsche on the market, actually followed the 928 on the drawing board. . 

    By the time the 928 was shunted aside to make room for the new Boxster in 1995, production amounted to 61,221 cars, with two in five going to the United States. 

    The 308 GTB joined the 308 GT4 and 12-cylinder 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer in the Ferrari lineup, carrying a price tag of $28,500-oddly enough, exactly the same as the first-year 928, and about $6,000 more than its Dino stablemate. 
    The 308 proved to be the most commercially successful Ferrari yet, with 21,678 produced; a later version, the 328 GTB/GTS, came on the scene in 1985 with a 3,185cc version of the V-8, and accounted for another 7,412 cars before production ended in 1989. Yet the 328 was not the end of the line. From the 348 to the F355 to the 360 to today's F430, Ferrari's unbroken line of mid-engine, V-8-powered road cars can trace its origins to the original 308 introduced 30 years ago. 

    Were the 308 and the 928 meant to go head-to-head in the mid-1970s exotic car market? They do differ in many ways, most significantly in the Porsche's greater overall size and power and its two-plus-two configuration. They were next-door neighbors in the upper limits of the price scale for their whole histories, their sticker prices starting at the identical $28,500 figure and jogging side-by-side up the scale; in 1989, the last year of the Ferrari's production, the price had risen to $71,900, within a tick of the Porsche's $74,545. 

    Porsche Prices Up
    Published: October 3, 1981

    Volkswagen of America is increasing prices on its 1982 Porsche and Audi models an average of 3.2 percent, or about $516 a car, from 1981 levels, the auto maker said. Prices on optional equipment for the imported models are also going up an average of 6.8 percent, VW said. Base prices for the Porsche-Audi models range from $9,755 for the Audi 4000 to $39,500 for the Porsche 928.

    what Porsche compared it to (notice the 928 is the fastest);

    carlos ad.jpg

    PERSPECTIVE ON OTHER MARQUES OF THE TIME (1988) - note the power figures and prices

    BMW, the West German manufacturer, for instance, has introduced its 750iL model with a 12-cylinder, 296-horsepower engine.

    Just how fast the car can go is unknown: a computer control restricts the top speed to 250 kilometers an hour, or 155 miles an hour. Sales Are Brisk

    When the top legal speed is 65 miles an hour (and more typically 55), the need for so much power is open to question. Nevertheless, BMW says the model is selling better than expected.

    The Nissan Motor Company, which made its name producing practical economy cars, plans to import a turbocharged 300-horsepower sports car next year to challenge the Chevrolet Corvette. That is twice the power of the 240Z, the Nissan sports coupe introduced in the early 1970's.

    Not to be outdone, Chevrolet plans a more powerful Corvette model, nicknamed the ''king of the hill,'' for this fall. 2 Models' Power According to accounts in auto enthusiast magazines, this model - officially the ZR-1 - will have nearly 400 horses under the hood, enough to nudge it along at more than 180 miles an hour. The standard 1988 Corvette, no slouch itself, musters 245 horsepower.

    At the extreme, Porsche, the West German sports car company, developed one model in Europe within the last year, the 959, that can attain 193 miles an hour. Porsche produced 250 of the cars and sold them all at $230,000 apiece.

    Its Italian rival, Ferrari, has responded with the F40, which can exceed 200 miles an hour. It, too, is reportedly sold out in advance of production, and it sells for about $260,000.





    what the 911 was compared to;

    911 vs 308 cover.jpg

    ECONOMIC PRESSURES - late 80's

    Life in the Fast Lane
    Monday, Dec. 16, 1985

     When the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley slows down, everybody, from realtors in Cupertino to restaurant owners along Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose, gets a bad case of the blues. But one of the best barometers of the health of California's computer manufacturers is Doug Young. He manages the Porsche dealership in Sunnyvale, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Sales at his showroom, where the most expensive models go for $50,000, are so sensitive to the region's economic trends that a few days of good news will generate a mini Porsche rally. On the other hand, downtime in the local semiconductor and computer industries leaves Young's salesmen spit-shining fenders.

    Right now, times are bad. Sales are slow, and the hardest hit model is the top-of-the-line 928. Young is doing the once unthinkable: cutting prices. Yet he knows that many of his would-be customers harbor hopes of becoming the latest in a string of entrepreneurs who have made millions by inventing a better microchip. Nobody wants to believe that the fabled region's heydays are gone forever. Says Young: "If the headlines are good for three or four days running and people are feeling optimistic, business picks right up. It's good for at least a few cars."

    Texas Oil price economic woes;

    Last month, sign of a stunning reversal in economic fortunes, the unemployment rate in Texas rose to 10.5 percent, its highest in post-Depression history and 3.5 points above the national average. Demographers say that the huge migration to Texas from other states is over, and that this year there will be a net outflow.

    The difficulty here is, of course, the fall of oil prices. On April 1, at a time when experts had once predicted oil would be fetching $50 or more a barrel, the world price dropped to $9.75. Though its economy is broader and more resilient than those of neighboring Oklahoma and Louisiana, Texas is suffering its first real economic tailspin since the Depression

    March 2, 1986, Sunday
    LAST year, to replenish its coffers and lock in some core deposits, First City Bancorporation of Texas conducted a five-month compaign for new accounts that was extravagant even by Texas standards. The Houston-based bank offered a Cessna 172 aircraft or a Porsche 928S sports car to anyone depositing at least $1 million into a new account for a minimum of five years. For the more modest

    April 6, 1986, Sunday

    Rick Cline has been noticing something of late. ''I've had a lot of people come in and trade Porsche 928's for Audis,'' said Mr. Cline, who has been the No. 1 Porsche salesman in the United States in recent years. ''These guys were making a million a year last ...

    MARKETING BLUNDERS - small budgets, limited product placement

    Porsche Cars North America Inc. in Reno said yesterday that it would move its estimated $10 million account, which had been at Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis for the last five years, to Goodby, Berlin & Silverstein in San Francisco, effective immediately. The sleek, expensive sports cars will share space in the Goodby garage with American Isuzu Motors Inc., an estimated $95 million account that the agency has handled since August 1991.
    In doubling up on automotive accounts, Goodby joins Mullen in Wenham, Mass., which on Feb. 11 was named the surprise winner of the $80 million to $85 million BMW of North America Inc. account, previously at Ammirati & Puris in New York. Mullen also handles the estimated $5 million account of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Inc. in Lyndhurst, N.J., the American importer of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys from Britain.

    Focus on the 911 intro the 993

    Goodby will begin producing Porsche's advertising for the rest of the 1993 model year, according to Mr. Ford, and will develop a campaign to introduce a redesigned Porsche 911 next March. Porsche has ambitious plans to bring out new models, like the 986, a lower-priced Porsche, to try to reverse a steep sales slump in this country; sales in the United States, which peaked in 1986 at 30,471, plunged to 4,115 last year.

    Marketing Blunder (is it true ??)

    The producers originally intended to use a Porsche 928 as 'Magnum's' car and asked Porsche to produce one with an extra large sunroof for aerial shots. Porsche refused. The Ferrari 308 GTS was chosen ('79, '81 & '84) instead and went on to become one of the most iconic cars of all time.


    928 for magnum.jpg

    One large Success;

    Risky Business;


    My Commentary 

    - The 928 was never marketed correctly if at all. Most of the small ad budget went towards the 911. The few commercials in the early years were not directed at the right audience. The slight aerodynamic body redesign of 1987 was not a sales success. Though the engine and performance were better, the styling and muddled marketing strategy along with a healthy price increase hurt sales. The tough economic times of the late 1980's hurt the whole porsche line-up, hitting the 911 even harder. The stock market crash, the recession, and price hikes all combined to bring sales down. The turmoil at Porsche led to major management changes and changes in corporate priorities. Racing was the first to go, with the indycar program cut. Porsche under Arno Bohn was falling apart. Then after an interim CEO, Wolgang Porsche hired W. Wiedecking. the cost cutting bean counter came in, he cut costs whereever he could. The expensive, hand-built, and now low volume 928 was an easy target. It would have required a large, expensive effort to revitalize the 928 production and marketing programs. Money that Porsche did not have. Money that Porsche needed to modernize its facilities under the direction and advice of the Japanese. The 911 and the new entry level boxster would get those funds because they still had some traction in the market because of their lower price point.

    The 928 out sold and out performed it's exotic rivals, most notably the Ferrari mid-engined 8 cylinder cars. The myth of replacing the 911 is just that a myth. The 928 was an upmarket luxury exotic that entered to accolades winning the Car of the Year award on its debut, it set records - fastest production car in the world record driven by Al Holbert at Bonneville.

    Another myth based on poor thinking that customers chose the 911 over the 928. It was never an option no more than it is today for anyone to make the case that people choose a 997C2S over a Ferrari 430. It is simply not an option for most 911 buyers to have the choice between a 911 and a vehicle that costs 50% more. 
    The choice in the market at the time was between a 928 and a 308/328/348. And in that market segment the 928 not only won on sales but on performance also.

    It's time for the 911 faithful to recognize what a wonderful car the 928 was, how successful it was, and how impressive Porsche WAS at its peak in the early to mid 1980's dominating Formula1, Endurance racing, and all segments of the sports car market.

    Over the life of the 928, its Ferrari price rival sold; (its performance rival the Testarossa sold many fewer)

    308 ---- 21 670
    328 ---- 7,400
    348 ---- 8,200

    Total Ferrari 8 cylinder production = 37,300
    Total Porsche 928 production = 61,200


    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    Owning or wanting a 928 when it was the best from the best;


    A sampling of the original owners to give a view of where the car was positioned status and dollar wise;

    A real life Gordon Gekko type from the NY TIMES

    Published: Sunday, May 3, 1987

    HOWARD SILVERMAN drives a Porsche 928. He used to race Jaguar XKE's. He runs his powerboat at speeds of 60 miles an hour. He likes to use the word ''aggressive'' when describing himself. And when he goes to work each day at 14 Wall Street, he pushes the Gruntal Financial Corporation toward an expanded future as a brokerage house.

    ''I have basically directed the firm in an aggressive manner,'' he said, ''aggressive in acquisitions and aggressive in approaches.'' Gruntal was founded in 1880. Mr. Silverman, who is 51 years old and lives in Great Neck and Manhattan, joined the company 26 years ago. He became a partner in 1968 and managing partner in 1974, and when the company went public in 1983, he became its president and chief executive officer.

    Mr. Silverman is quite clear about his goal for the corporation. ''It is to increase the size of Gruntal so it will have become a very significant member of the financial community, rivaling some of the firms that are of significantly larger size than we are.'' Mr. Silverman leaves scant doubt he is talking about firms like Merrill Lynch and Shearson Lehman.

    The world famous race driver Jackie Stewart and Hans Stuck owned 928s. Porsche employee Wolfhelm Gorrisen
    recalled Jackie Stewart proclaiming "I love it! The best high speed car in the world.”


    Doug Flutie, one of the greatest football quarterbacks to play football bought one when he was signed by Donald Trump to play for the New Jersey Generals in the USFL excerpt from Fluties book;

    928 owners FLUTIE.jpg

    Tom Selleck bought one for himself and each of his castmates on Magnum PI, Here is a picture of Rick with his;


    928 owners rick from magnum2.jpg

    Race Driver Derek Bell - In the past he says that he preferred to own the Porsche 928 over the 911 because he wishes to drive “peacefully across Europe.”  

    Many other celebrities including good ol Charlie Sheen.


    The prettiest girl in POP Culture and her 928, the best looking car

    owner gravatte.jpg





    and he likes it too


    928 ferry.jpg

    In popular culture;

    GOOD as it is, "A Civil Action" falters by presenting the Woburn case in a one-dimensional, made-for-the-movies way. Mr. Harr does not overdramatize individual scenes, but he does depict a world containing three types of people: innocent victims, lonely crusaders and the malignant pawns of the corporate state. Mr. Schlichtmann is described as a driven child of the 60's who comes to covet the Dmitri suits and Porsche 928's that the big-boy lawyers have, and yet never forgets that law is the pursuit of justice.

    awesome looking version minus the fire hydrant

    928 ultimate.jpg

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance


    I enjoyed every single line your post Smiley.

    Happy Driving

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    update to this now apparently abbreviated thread

    thanks to Here is Derek Bell driving his old 928

    1266242582128derek bell1.jpg 


    Hans back in the day


    Hans Stuck GTS1.jpg




    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    Interesting read, but personal opinion. I lived those years too and I am convinced that the 928 was indeed targeted as the 911 replacement. It is well documented that it was Peter Schutz in the '80s who rescued the 911. I always preferred the 911. They are just very different cars. One cannot replace the other.

    Thank you for posting. As a Porsche history student, I appreciate it.



    A. Dias --- 997.2S. Previous cars: Corvette C6,  996 C4.

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    Thanks for nice post


    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    very interesting read. Though the 928 was never to replace the 911, i think it was spawned as Porsche's future success model... sad thing with global events killed that notion. I personally love the entire series 924/944/968 and the 928 in their design. My 944 which had 1/2 a 928 engine i still one of the coolest cars i've ever owned!! Such interesting lines, beautiful interior, super fun performance (not fast) and 100% BEST steering response ie. handling i've ever seen. I still want my 944.2 back! 


    indeed shifting is ancient technology - so is a fuel burning engine..  I happen to like both :) 
    1984 BMW 323i 5spd 2.3L 141 hp (105 kW) More door. Black on black (parting out) 
    1986 BMW 325e 5spd 2.7L 121 hp (172 lb·ft) Le Mans Blau on Tan leather.
    1986 BMW 325is 5spd 2.5L 168 hp (164 lb-ft) White on Tan leather (parted out) 
    2005 Ford Focus S, 5spd 2.0L 136 hp (120lb-ft) CD silver on grey (sold)
    1986 Porsche 944, 5spd 2.5L 150 hp (168lb-ft) champagne gold on grown leather. (sold)

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    Thanks for bringing this thread back up, I missed it the first time. Actually I wasn't even around.

    The 928 was MY dream car for the longest time.

    Misha, thanks for cleaning that up Smiley

    Slow In, Fast Out

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    This might have to be re-named




    if they continue with amazing work like the 918

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    But anyways I learned of some new info that was really cool. The 928 did some racing at the Nurburgring a while back and did very well, especially way back then.


    928 racing 1.jpg

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    Here is that very car as it looks today and from a good source this 928 lapped the combined NBR and race track in the same time as the Aston-Martin V8 Vantage N24!


    928 racing sweet.jpg



    8:06 Not Bad

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    There have been some great finds lately of 928's in amazing condition, barn finds in a manner of speaking like this 1985 with 6,000 miles, Even in less than optimal photoshoot surroundings the timeless shape of the 928 looks hot and that almost new paint looks great.






    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    one of my favorites

    928 black.jpg


    928 wheel black.JPG

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance


     I personally love the entire series 924/944/968 and the 928 in their design. My 944 which had 1/2 a 928 engine i still one of the coolest cars i've ever owned!! Such interesting lines, beautiful interior, super fun performance (not fast) and 100% BEST steering response ie. handling i've ever seen. I still want my 944.2 back! 

     I like the front-engined Porsches too (owned 2 and driven dozens), but I am shocked that you prefer the 944.2 steering to all other cars.  IMO, the manual steering of the 911 (before the 964 of 1989) was WAY better.  

    IMO, steering response and handling are quite different things and the manual 911 steering had so much more feel and feedback.  The 944 steering is numb by comparison.  I understand that many people never warm to the 911 handling (especially the early cars), but the steering itself is peerless.

    Not even in the same class.  I assume you driven some nice examples of these?


    73 Carrera RS 2.7 Carbon Fiber replica (1,890 lbs).  Former: 73 911S, Two 951S's, 996 C2, 993 C2, 98 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    The Sultan of Brunei's brother recently had his barn opened and out came a lot of classic Porsche's, these 928 GTS's with less than 1000 mi on the odo.



    a (21).JPG

    a (22).JPG


    a (23).JPG

    This grey one with 961 miles






    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

     Very nice - love the seat piping.  The GTS is a sweet GT ride.  Too bad it's not a 5spd.


    73 Carrera RS 2.7 Carbon Fiber replica (1,890 lbs).  Former: 73 911S, Two 951S's, 996 C2, 993 C2, 98 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    GTS is a nice ride, but my S2 is a nicer ride. That seat piping on those sport seats is a very nice factory touch.

    any way the racer on the NBR, some opposite lock, zero body lean and making good time

    928 race 2.jpg


    A quote from a knowledgeable 928'er


    "The Aston N24 V8 was lapping at 10m:20sec-30sec range in the dry, while the 928S was lapping in the 10m:15sec-10m:25sec.  The lap times were for the Nurburgring Nordschleife + GP Strecke, which gives you a time of around 8:00min for the Nordschleife and 2:30mins for the GP track..."


    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

     Looks like fun, but looks like lots of speed bled off from that slide.


    73 Carrera RS 2.7 Carbon Fiber replica (1,890 lbs).  Former: 73 911S, Two 951S's, 996 C2, 993 C2, 98 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    Maybe, we have had discussions about how one achieves the fastest times, I have always thought that being on the edge allows a faster in faster out, but if you read the article clipping above that car/driver was doing something right to beat the 930 turbo.

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance


    Maybe, we have had discussions about how one achieves the fastest times, I have always thought that being on the edge allows a faster in faster out, but if you read the article clipping above that car/driver was doing something right to beat the 930 turbo.

    I'd say that the slip angle of the 928's tires in that photo are beyond the optimum level for fastest laptime.  Not saying it isn't a fast car, just that the driver lost time in that corner.


    73 Carrera RS 2.7 Carbon Fiber replica (1,890 lbs).  Former: 73 911S, Two 951S's, 996 C2, 993 C2, 98 Ferrari 550 Maranello

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance

    I don't know in this exact instance but in the debate about sliding in a corner vs. not here is the logic;


    A) Enter corner at fastest speed possible W/O leaving the track and let the tires scrub the speed and then exit at fastest speed possible as tires regain the 30% (guess) of traction that was missing because speed was so fast beyond tire grip limit.


    B) Brake sufficiently before entering corner so that there is no excess speed beyond the tires ability to hold the path and then exit at a less than optimal (the very pinnacle) speed.




    It's either the brakes or the tires that are turning the mechanical energy of the cars momentum into heat energy and ONLY a computer could possible hit that perfect amount of braking to be on the knifes edge each corner so you will enter too slow many times vs. sliding thru which lets the tires decide and curbs.

    I say a skilled driver drifting/sliding in a corner will be the faster.

    Re: Modern History of Porsche - Fall from Dominance


    I'd say a skilled driver drifting/sliding in a corner will be the faster.

    I'm not even debating that point.  But even if it was settled fact that sliding the car was the fastest path (I believe a small amount of drift is fastest), not all slides are created equally.  My point is that the driver of that car lost time by sliding too much (slip angle of tires is so exteme, that it can't be the fastest path).


    73 Carrera RS 2.7 Carbon Fiber replica (1,890 lbs).  Former: 73 911S, Two 951S's, 996 C2, 993 C2, 98 Ferrari 550 Maranello



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