By on November 24, 2008

This is what happens when a company makes more money by playing the markets than by selling product: the financial guys take over. In the good old days, Porsche made smallish, nimble cars that had great SPM and MPG ratings (the former being smiles per mile). Nowadays, Porsches are no longer small, but still manage to be desirable to car enthusiasts, Yuppie moms and pimps alike. With few exceptions, Porsches have always delivered a unique package of intuitive steering, a great soundtrack, a tractable engine with a wide power band, fantastic brakes and everyday reliability. Did somebody at Porsche explain “well, four outta six ain’t half bad” when the question was asked whether the “soundtrack” and “wide power band” parts are dispensable? We ask this since Porsche announced that for the first time ever, it will be using Diesels. Spiegel Online reports from Februrary 2009 onwards, European markets will enjoy (not!) Cayennes fitted the VW 3.0 TDI engine I kinda liked (and disliked) in the Audi Q7. It is not a bad engine, as it has more torque than the basic gasoline version. But it does make the Cayenne seem even more like an overpriced Touareg on steroids, which is saying something, since the Touareg is kinda like an overpriced Passat on stilts. More data for Chuck Goolsbee: 244g CO2; 550NM; 25.3 MPG according to EU ratings; €56k. Porsche thinks it needs this one because of CO2 regulations, until it gets its hybrid up and running. We suspect the real reason is that German Cayanne sales are down 13% this year.

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15 Comments on “Porsche Surrenders More Brand Equity...”


  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    How is it worse than the Volkswagen VR6 powered V6 gasser Cayenne? If the six-cylinder Cayenne had a flat six I could see your point…

  • avatar

    More data about Chuck Goolsbee: I have ZERO interest in an SUV. ZERO. ANY SUV. Doesn’t matter if it has a fancy oelmotor or even a badge from a sports car company. I want Diesel cars, not trucks. If there is one thing this world needs less of, it is trucks being used as cars.

    How about a VW Polo TDI? How about that MINI 1.6L Diesel (65 MPG!) How about an Audi TT TDI? (make mine a convertible please.)

    I could care less about glorified station wagons on truck chassis. thankyouverymuch.

    –chuck

  • avatar

    My comment just vanished… grrr… trying again:

    ohh… look it came back. nevermind.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Martin Schwoerer,

    I think it is time to make a mental decision here. Is Porsche a brand of “real” sports vehicles or it is strictly a brand of poser-mobiles?

    The last time I check the Cayenne was designed to be a real off-road capable SUV first and than a high-powered oxyimoronic poser-mobile second. No off-road vehicle worth a damn need a thirsty gas drinking V6 or V8 with a relatively high torque peak. For a real off-road vehicle, a low stressed high torque diesel engine will always be more appropiate than a high strung gas engine. In this world of performance driving RANGE and low-end grunt are what matter NOT peak output! Nor do I need or even want a wide powerband, what would it be worth in the sticks?

    A Cayenne Turbo fitted with 21″ street wheels/ tires and a ground effects kit is the STUPID brand destroying vehicle. It is the epitome stupid and is meant to only seperate a non-enthusaist foolish poser from his gold.

    I think you are totally missing the point here, the diesel engine actually makes the Cayenne a “real” off-road sports vehicle. It allows some folks with disposable cash to actually buy something different yet quite capable, to take on the trails with the correct type of powerplant for the job. You might actually make it to the end of the trail without running out of gas and or overheating!

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    what do I know one,

    I appreciate your words, but I think this is where we’ll have to agree to disagree. The statistics seem to say that less than 3% of Euro-SUV owners have *ever* gone off-road. So making the Cayenne a theoretically better off-road vehicle, while sacrificing two *major* brand points, sounds like a bad move to me.

    Farago thinks the Cayenne as such is incompatible with the Porsche brand. I think that’s too strict: what was important was that the Cayenne was the Porsche of SUVs, so to speak. But it no longer is.

  • avatar
    kovachian

    The Porsche I knew died years ago with the creation of an SUV. And now, a sedan.

    F*** Porsche.

  • avatar
    kovachian

    The Porsche I knew died years ago with the creation of a bastardly SUV. And soon, a sedan. A SEDAN. From freaking Porsche of all makers. Might as well make a minivan next, why not? Stuttgart’s already got all the other bases covered.

    Porsche can rot in Hell.

  • avatar
    kovachian

    Oops, could someone delete my earlier post? Kinda redundant.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    The statistics seem to say that less than 3% of Euro-SUV owners have *ever* gone off-road.

    Give credit where credit is due. Porsche makes the vehicle, what the purchasers do with said vehicle is their own business. My understanding is that if you order and equipe a Cayenne correctly you will have a vehicle capable of challanging a Wrangler, G-Wagon, or Range Rover off-road. The last weak link was the gas powered highpeak engine.

    For the sake of argument what is the percentage of Porsche Boxsters, Caymans, and 911s that ever see speeds in excess of 120mph or spend time on a real racetrack? I will bet that it is larger than the 3% of Cayennes that make it off-road but I think you get my point. I guess I could make the same argument about the number of sportcar Porsches that are currently being sold with good ole torque converting autoboxes.

    Lets also extend the same arguement to all of the “super-sedans” on the market today. Exactly how many AMGs, BMW M, Audi S, and Lexus F series cars will actually be used at their level of potential? These are all “show” cars just like 95% of ALL Porsches being sold today.

    Porsches have changed a great deal since even the late 1980s. Gone is the old quirky “pure” 911 and it has been replaced by a larger, heavier, electronically controlled 911 than is actually also serving the needs of the former 928 drivers. The truth of the matter is that vast majority of folks that can afford a Porsche today do NOT want a cramped, poorly ventilated, harsh riding, speed mobile with a heavy clutch. They want a nice car that will make their firends and enemies alike go oh and ah! The performance is all in the fun, a fast blast here and there, and the joy of driving a winding road a few mph faster than the guy in that “regular” car. Just like the guy in the Cayenne that will become the hero once the road turns to broken pavement, dirt, or gravel with a inch or two on fresh snow.

    Cars like the Cayenne and PanaAmerica may not appeal to the guy who has had Porsche dreams most of his life and can now afford his dream car, but they do appeal to the target that Prosche is aiming at today; The guy/ family with a lot of money who can actually afford MORE than one Porsche.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    whatdoiknow1,

    this is an old discussion: how many SUV users go off-road vs how many sports cars drivers take to the track. Obviously we have a different philosophy. I won’t try to convince you that yours is wrong, but I’ll illustrate mine.

    A good sports car, or a sporty car, provides driving pleasure *all the time*, because it is involving, because it provides feedback, because the human-machine interface is great. Smiles per miles, as it were.

    In addition, I can tell you that living as I do in Europe, I have taken cars to 120+ mph often, and enjoy cars that deal with that kind of situation well.

    A SUV is often a nasty drive. The ride-handling compromise is poor because of a high center of gravity and the requirements of offroad capability. Thus, the benefits of a SUV are mostly limited to offroading, which in my book is ridiculous if you never go offroad.

  • avatar
    Vega

    @kovachian:

    Why the anger? They don’t owe you anything. As long as the new models don’t compromise the way the sports cars drive, why complain?

    I think it is wise for Porsche to adress a problem they always had throughout history: How to stop losing customers only because they become parents. Early ideas to solve that problem:

    1962: http://www.356registry.org/articles/beutler/images/1962%20type695%2011a.jpg

    1990:
    http://www.autoweek.com/files/weekart/2005/0822/porsche989.jpg

    Only building sportscars is well and good, but it doesn’t deliver enough volume to be able to pay for modern car development (Safety, emissions etc.). VW takeover came after the development launch of the Panamera.

    So what do you prefer, an independent sports car fundamentalist company dying or a thriving performance car companies which also happens to make some of the best sportscars in the world?

    Oh and btw., I bet the Panamera wipes the floor with the competition in terms of handling.

  • avatar
    MrDot

    “So what do you prefer, an independent sports car fundamentalist company dying or a thriving performance car companies which also happens to make some of the best sportscars in the world?”

    Well now that they’re involved with VW, why don’t they let VW/Audi take care of the people-movers and keep Porsche focused on what it does best?

  • avatar
    chuckR

    I’ve driven a Cayenne S as a loaner a few times. Its the answer to a question I’d never ask. If somebody was giving you an SUV of any type for free and it had to be your primary conveyance, you’d be happy with the Cayenne. It is downright homely but no SUV is really attractive – slab-sidedly innocuous at best. Safety wise, I’ll bet your chances of groundlooping one of these is lower than most any comparable sized SUV.

    “In the good old days, Porsche made smallish, nimble cars that had great SPM and MPG ratings”. I got a close as I could – a Cayman S – 20% less podgy than a 911, 30-50% less pricey and the latest SPMs happened just a little bit ago on my way back from lunch. Hint – just forget the top 2 gears exist. And speed up in corners.

  • avatar
    fahrkultur

    Simple solution. Buy a vintage Porsche (356 or 911) if you don’t like the comfort of current models.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Since when was the Cayenne ever fun? It drives like a Panzer tank, not a Porsche.

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