Reinventing Porsche in a fast-changing world
Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the supervisory board of Porsche, talks about the essence, the magic and the future of the company
The future has many names: for the weak, it means the unattainable. For the fearful, it means the unknown. For the courageous, it means opportunity.”
This quote from French author Victor Hugo is used frequently, but rarely has it been as fitting as today, when we are talking about the future of mobility. For many decades, mobility has revolved around the car — as a means of transportation, as a status symbol and as a fascinating machine delivering driving pleasure. But traditional mobility as we understand and practise it every day is now at a turning point. We live in a multimobile age.
With information and communication technology developing at a lightning-fast pace, we are not just available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, wherever we are; we can be everywhere at the same time.
With video conferences replacing business trips, online chats with friends replacing meet-ups at the bar, home-working replacing your desk at the office and laptops replacing shopping trips into town, it makes sense to ask whether driving your car will be replaced by virtual mobility.
We are living in an era of industrial upheaval. The force and dynamics of events and developments are breathtaking. Society, the world, politics and the economy are changing at the speed of light. The automotive world will change more over the next 10 years than it has during the course of the past 100 years.
For Porsche, the digital transformation determines the way in which we think. Young, differently-minded people who are entirely unlike us are changing our mind-set.
What do our customers expect from cars now and in the future, and from mobility in general? The answer is that everything must be re-evaluated.
For Porsche, it is important to always think from the point of view of the customer. We need to match our customers’ desires as closely as possible.
But where does all this lead?
As entrepreneurs we must make the right strategic decisions today to best prepare ourselves for what awaits us.
As we face the global competition in the field of innovation, Porsche must be on the offensive. More than anything else, this will take courage — the courage to make changes and the courage to pave our own way to the future. In volatile times like these, it is crucial to project a clear, unmistakable identity. But how can a brand stay authentic and unique when it must constantly adapt to an environment evolving at a rapid pace? How is renewal possible without a loss of identity?
If we applied this question to Porsche it would be: which is the real 911? Is it the original 911 from 1963? Or is it the one- millionth 911 that rolled off the production line in Zuffenhausen in mid-2017?
Over the years we have consistently redeveloped the 911 and continuously supplied it with new, innovative technologies. Not one component in today’s 911 is identical to those in its 1960s counterpart. But despite this, the essential core of our sports car icon has remained the same for more than 50 years.
The identity of a 911 is not simply defined by its technical details. What matters is that a thing remains true to its nature. And I don’t know of any car that, despite all the changes in technology and the spirit of the time, has remained so true to its nature as the 911.
Since my father, Ferry Porsche, finished the first Porsche sports car with his small team 70 years ago, countless people have added to and kept the “Porsche legend” alive with their daily work. Today, our company employs more than 30,000 highly qualified and highly motivated employees who are working together on the basis of a unique corporate culture to shape the present and the future of Porsche.
Successful innovation means repeatedly challenging everything without losing the proven structure, the basic characteristics, the identity, along the way.
Whether electric or conventional drives, whether pure driving pleasure on the race track or networked, automated driving in the city, whether a sports car manufacturer or an innovative service provider — Porsche will always be Porsche.