Cars are made in every corner of the globe, but when it comes to Porsche, home is definitely where the heart is. The two main Porsche plants are in Germany – in the Zuffenhausen district of its hometown Stuttgart and the city of Leipzig. Additionally, the Cayenne is built in Slovakia while a new local assembly for our SUV is about to open up in Malaysia, where Cayenne vehicles will be produced for the local market only. In China, a new, permanent research and development satellite is about to get up and running to help meet the demands of the biggest single market for the company. Want to know more about where your Macan is manufactured or where the Taycan is constructed? Come with us on a tour of the Porsche world.
Porsche is a true global business, but its roots lie in the south-west German city that it still calls home. The company’s founder, Ferdinand Porsche, opened his engineering office in Kronenstrasse 24 in the heart of Stuttgart in 1931. But after early success demanded an expansion, the business moved a few kilometres north to the Zuffenhausen suburb of the city seven years later. Apart from a temporary move of its operations in the summer of 1944 to the Austrian town of Gmünd due to the impact of World War II, it’s been in Zuffenhausen ever since. While in Austria, the legendary Porsche 356 saw the light of day for the first time. It would be the car that helped propel Porsche towards the household name status it enjoys today.
When it comes to where are Porsche cars made from a sportscar perspective, then it’s simple – the 911, 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster are all made exclusively in Zuffenhausen. And the all-electric Taycan models have been made here ever since its launch in 2019. Zuffenhausen is also a high-tech engine hub where the company manufactures its powertrains as well.
If Zuffenhausen is the manufacturing powerhouse of Porsche in Stuttgart, Weissach – just 25km west of the city – is where the cutting-edge ideas and technological developments for the company take place. Inaugurated in 1971, today some 6,500 people work at the Weissach Research & Development Centre. This place is so much more than just a think tank. It’s where those early thoughts and sketches start to become reality, through modelmaking and initial prototypes. And, as it’s where the development and testing of everything in the vehicles takes place, it’s also home to the test tracks and off-road circuits. Here, vehicles and innovations are put through their paces for thousands of hours. As Michael Steiner, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG says of the Weissach Research & Development Centre, “Here we are shaping the mobility of today and tomorrow.”
Porsche operated for some 70 years from Zuffenhausen only, but its continued expansion – particularly from the 1990s onwards – meant new vistas needed to be explored. And what better time for Porsche to establish only its second-ever production plant than at the start of a new century? The ground-breaking ceremony at the facility at Leipzig, in the eastern part of Germany, took place in 2000. Just two years later, operations started with the production of the company’s first-ever SUV and the plant’s first vehicle, the Cayenne.
Today, 20 years on from when the first vehicle rolled off the assembly line, the Porsche Leipzig factory – which in 2019 received the highest award given out by the German Sustainable Building Council – is fully powered by renewable energy sources, just as the Zuffenhausen plant is too. Leipzig is currently home to the Panamera and the Macan. Some 600 million euros have been invested to develop the facility and set up the production for the upcoming all-new, all-electric Macan.
The Leipzig plant also boasts a test track facility, which features corners inspired by some of the world’s great racetracks like the Mobil1 S curve at the Nürburgring, the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca and the Bus Stop at Spa-Francorchamps. Its Customer Centre entertains more than 400,000 visitors each year, and for those customers who’ve bought a new Porsche and wonder where Porsche cars are made, nearly 2,000 of them collect their new Porsche personally from here each year. A factory tour and an instructor-led session driving a test version of their car on the test track are all part of this package.
The Porsche Cayenne was built at Leipzig until 2017. Since then, it’s been assembled at the VW plant on the outskirts of Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava. While the vast majority were built at Leipzig, it was at Bratislava where the one millionth Cayenne rolled off the production line in December 2020.
As well as its manufacturing plants, Porsche has long maintained a reputation for its network of global development sites, particularly in the field of engineering. China has been home to a Porsche Engineering facility for over 20 years. There’s also a Shanghai-based operation of Porsche Digital, the company’s technology and digital lab, which develops innovative tech solutions for Porsche products. And, opening up this year in Shanghai, there will now be a brand new office that will act as a permanent research and development satellite, with a primary focus on its host country – the company’s biggest market. It will help improve local product development and understanding of the needs of Chinese customers. Ask where are Porsche cars made, and you’ll soon discover that it’s much more than just about fixing parts and bodywork together.
Further evidence of the dynamic nature of the Asian market for Porsche comes with the news last year that 2022 will see the first cars come off the production line at a local assembly site in Malaysia. The locally assembled Porsche Cayenne will be right-hand drive models, dedicated for the Malaysian market. Germany is home and always will be for Porsche, but it’s another example of the Porsche quest to learn how to adapt and engage in local market conditions.