At the beginning of the 1990s, Porsche finds itself at an economic low. Above all, the sharp drop in the US dollar heralds the start of increasing problems in 1986, causing the company to slide deep into the red. In Fiscal Year 1991, Porsche reports only 23,000 units sold – five years previously, it sold more than double this figure. By the end of 1992, the loss reaches 240 million Deutsche Mark. Then, in January 1993, a glimmer of hope appears on the horizon. Or rather, it starts to shine – from Detroit right the way to Zuffenhausen.
Porsche springs a surprise at the traditional Detroit Motor Show with a sensational concept car. The organisers ban the crisis-ridden Swabians to a quiet corner of the exhibition centre. But all at once, the small Porsche stand becomes the big attraction. That is where a car is presented that rekindles sports car dreams of the 1950s. It smells of James Dean and the wide, wide world of open-top driving; it is reminiscent of Hans Herrmann and Umberto Maglioli; and its cheeky elegance and noble design with its love of detail go straight to the hearts of car enthusiasts: the Porsche Boxster. At last here is a mid-engine car, a two-seater and a flighty speedster! At last here is a genuine roadster!
The Boxster prototype suddenly becomes "Best of Show". The visitors are enthralled; customers line up and place their orders like mad; many even write blank cheques – for a car which is officially only a concept car, a "prototype" and an "interpretation of typical stylistic elements". On this day, a bolt of lightning runs through Porsche AG. The success in Detroit spreads like wildfire, also among the work force. Within three years, the Boxster is ready for production – and supports an economic upswing starting in 1996. This year, Porsche sells around 32,000 vehicles – half of them bear the Boxster badge on their rear. Porsche finally returns to positive figures.
Porsche announces the Boxster in Detroit as a "vision of the sports car of the future". How true – at least the future of the sports car from Zuffenhausen can look forward to a bright future after the Motor Show.