Porsche needed the Boxster to save itself, because 911s aren't cheap


Porsche is a shining star of Volkswagen Group these days, but times weren't always so prosperous. In fact, Porsche was in crisis mode in the early 1990s as sales of its 911 slipped. In fact, it sold just 3,713 cars in the United States in 1993, according to the automaker.

What's a sports car brand to do? Introduce a new vehicle to kick-start things. However, Porsche almost went with a sedan, but it decided it couldn't introduce another pricey car when it needed a vehicle to expand its market share. Enter the Porsche Boxster. Taking a page from the Mazda MX-5 Miata's success, the Boxster concept was revealed at the 1993 Detroit auto show and took the public and media by storm. People loved it, and Porsche knew it had to build it.

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There was an issue; the Boxster was incredibly expensive and this car had to swing toward entry-level pricing. So, Porsche hired a consulting team made up of former Toyota executives who helped move the brand away from archaic manufacturing processes and introduced a little bit of "just in time" manufacturing. The result of Toyota's help? The Boxster's cost was halved and so was the production time. But, another issue arose: Porsche's current production facilities were maxed out. Did you know Porsche decided to have a Finnish company build the car? Now you do.

Valmet undertook overflow Boxster production to ensure Porsche was cranking out as many cars as it could. Additionally, the production Boxster also shared plenty of parts with the 996 generation of 911 to keep costs down, which wasn't a bad thing. The results were tremendous for Porsche.

Not only was the media enthused with the sports car's handling prowess and flat-6 engine, but also customers adored it. The Boxster was intended to double the company's vehicle production to 30,000 units; the Boxster ended up quadrupling production to 56,000 units and Porsche had to return to Finland's Valmet to produce even more Boxsters. Porsche would go on to expand the Boxster's success with the Cayman hardtop in the mid-2000s.

The Boxster's history has been reduced to a bite-sized video above, which covers Porsche's life raft until the Cayenne came along. Grab some popcorn and settle in to watch.

 
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