By on March 8, 2009 reports that the 250,000th Porsche Cayenne is a three-liter, six-cylinder diesel. Zuffenhausen pride!

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46 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture? Brand, What Brand? Edition...”

  • avatar

    Gotta pay the bills somehow, I guess. Whoring yourself out to soccer moms is a pretty good way.

  • avatar

    I wonder what’s the manual automatic ratio on the Cayenne as opposed to the Boxster or 911.

    Looks like a Stormtrooper!

  • avatar

    Time to make a Q5 based SUV, and a cute little hatchback would be nice too.

  • avatar

    A car that looks worse than a Kia for the Porsche price… that is wrong.
    And in white…. the color with highest depreciation. Well, tha car is so ugly to begin with , even the best color couldn’t convince anyoen with eyes to buy it. And the blind and visually impaired shouldn’t be driving anyway.
    Some years ago you could say you want a Porsche and everything knew you meant a fast chic-magnet. Now you need to clarify that you mean the non-Kia Porsche. Oh, I mean VW Touareg that is produced in the Slovakian VW factory in Mlada Boleslav and gets some Porsche badges in Leipzig/Germany.

  • avatar

    Nothing at all wrong with it. I hate SUV’s and am a sports car guy, but the Cayenne is probably the best business move Porsche ever made. Hell, it enabled them to buy VW for chrissake. In addition, the diesel version is probably the most appropriate as a milestone vehicle, as Dr. Porsche made tractors (I think they were diesel) long before he ever made a car…

    another 3WTP gone to waste.

  • avatar

    I am having a hard time believing that they sold 250K of these things. That is way more than I would have expected. Despite the naysayers, it looks like a raging success to me.

  • avatar
    King Bojack

    Nothing is wrong with the Cayenne unless you’re a “purist” or some one who places far too much emphasis on branding. No one cares about branding as long as they can look rich or smart while driving whatever it is they’re driving. Expect the Panamera to do far better than its multitude of haters want it to do.

  • avatar

    I’ve never been a huge fan of the styling on the Cayenne, I’d much rather have the VW Touraeg and get the same vehicle with better looks for less money.

    However, I am a huge fan of diesels for trucks and SUVs, and the Porsche/VW 3 liter 6 is a very smooth, torquey, and somewhat frugal oil burner. I’m excited about BMW bringing the 335d to our shores finally, and would love to see Porsche make some diesel sports cars. Then again I’d also love to see GM slap a duramax into a vette just for the hell of it…

  • avatar

    I can’t really see James Dean driving one.

  • avatar

    The Panamera will do far better than its multitude of haters want it to do.

  • avatar

    Porsche’s tag line used to be: “There is no substitute.”

    Hell, a Toureg, Kia, Range Rover Sport, or Storm Trooper would be fine substitutes for this. Not that I am a Porsche purist – I was just discussing the beauty of the 928 with a gentleman who pulled his up to the venue at which I was lunching outside.

    It’s just that the Cayenne is soooo fugly on the outside and festooned with an inordinate amount of buttonage on the inside.

    And it does – in white – look like a Storm Trooper – which, today in The Times – Jezza equated to the Toyota iQ.

    So, commuter implements being commutative, Toyota iQ = Porsche Cayenne.

    No substitute indeed!

  • avatar


    Where did you get the information that white is the color with the highest depreciation? I have never seen that before. I could see that people would avoid a white pickup because it looks a bit like a fleet vehicle bit where I live, (south Florida) white is a highly desirable color. I know several people that refuse to buy any color but white because it is so hot here in the summer. I specifically wanted white on my new vehicle because it hides dirt, dust, and scratches and you don’t get a third degree burn when you touch it in the summer.

    I did a quick google search and could not find anyone to back up your claim.

    I would be interested to see if Steven Lang can verify this as truth or fiction

  • avatar

    I AM a “Purist” and I don’t really have a problem with the Cayenne. As many have said before the Cayenne has provided the funds to move Porsche forward and continue the development evolution of the 911.

    I thought it quite appropriate for this milestone to be marked by Porsche first foray into Diesel since they stopped producing/designing tractors back in the early sixties.

  • avatar

    npbheight: except maybe Florida… and silver gray would help with the heat, and Florida is full of old people…
    Rental cars are white, first reason.
    go to a dealership in Germany and tell them you are interested in buying a car, you describe your trade in… everything fine, until they ask about the color and you say “white”. then you see the sales guy’s face going death. Gray has the lowest depreciation. that’s why most company cars (I’m talking about Audis etc) are silver gray. Pure economics. Never white.
    in addition white shows the rust more. Well, not a problem in the south, I suppose. But wherever there is snow with salt you don’t want a white car.

  • avatar

    Since when is a turbocharged Porsche a bad thing? The 3.0TDI is so much more appropriate for this type of vehicle than the VR6. You know… it produces this torque thing and if one were to say want more of that torque more can be had thanks to that turbocharger.

    What is tragic is the use of the VR6 in any SUV without a turbocharger or supercharger.

  • avatar

    it’s like people want to own a porsche but don’t want to drive a sports car

    it’s like people want to own a hummer but don’t want to drive a gas guzzling shitty 4wd

  • avatar

    Porsche is riding high right now, but the year they made my C4 – 1991 – they were nearly out of business. Mercedes took pity on them and and for the next few years, Porsche wrenched the Mercedes 500E/E500s together. It’s all well and good to be purists, but it’s better to survive.
    The Cayenne is by all accounts one of the most accomplished off and on road SUVs. Not interested, personally, but it isn’t an embarrassment to Porsche engineering.
    I hope the Cayenne and the Panamera(eventually) continue to support the ability to develop the sports cars.

  • avatar


    So in Germany white cars are not cool. I did not know that. Silver/Gray with Gray interiors seem like they would appeal somber and serious Germans.

    Not everyone in Florida is old, I am 29.

    In Florida, Silver cars are #1 for getting rear ended in our blinding Florida thunderstorms. They blend right in to the rain. Around here the number one color for rental cars are pewter/gold, not white.

    I could see how rust would show up on white cars but how much are rusty cars worth anyway?

    Your regional perspective is interesting. Thank You for answering my question.

  • avatar

    I agree with Bojack and Golf, the “purists” (in many cases these are idiot savants that can quote the spring rates and final drive ratios by model year) still have their cars to yak about, and all those soccer moms out there can have their Cayenne to drive to Yoga class.

    Are there any long-lived brands in existence today that provide the exact same product as they did back in 1970? The only ones that spring to mind are Rolex that company that makes the nasty candy corn. Most companies evolve their brands and target markets in order to make money. Yes, some brands failed because they changed in a direction not embraced by customers. But it’s incorrect to assume any deviation is always bad.

  • avatar

    I can see the danger in rain with gray cars… especially in the US, where most people don’t know to turn on the lights (and blinkers often too).

    In my opinion gray cars also don’t look so dirty when dirt and little scratches blend better in. It also is more neutral, then red for example.

    I have black car (in WI). that really looks good when clean and not in the summer. bu tin real life it is dirty. Next car will be gray…

    edit: service companies like to buy white cars in Germany because that is a god contrast to the writing and logos they put on. So white is a good ” working class” fleet color… which doesn’t help resale value…..

  • avatar

    Nothing. The Cayenne is the reason the Cayman exists.

  • avatar

    It may not be the most awe-inspiring Porsche design, and tbh I feel the Infinity FX35 is a better Porsche-like design than this, but it’s a damn, very damn nice riding CUV.

  • avatar

    Sign of the times… hype the green creds of the 3l oil burner, and people may forget its 249,999 hydrocarbon swilling siblings…

    btw, even w this motor, i bet it hits 250 kph…

    and, thank god they freshened the front, imho it used to be uglier than the Toureg…

  • avatar

    I agree w u.

    Some brands which hav survived amazingly intact…
    – maxwell house
    – ray ban aviator, wayfarer, etc.
    – exxon
    – City of Detroit Water Department (this being the most amazing, as the city has crumbled, this jewel has expanded service to cover much of SE Michigan…)

    even your examples have evolved,
    – rolex added models (even 1970 was just a design stop in a storied history.)
    – candy corn company probabla added the chocolate version after 1970 (just a guess…)

    all brands evolve… not even religion is immune to this phenomenon…

  • avatar

    What a boring, less than generic-mobile. Nearly every other SUV in history has more styling character then this.

  • avatar

    The color is not what’s wrong with it. White is the most visible color at night, and it’s quite visible in the day. The only car I ever bought new was white, for that reason. It also looked much better once it was old than brandmates of other colors did.

  • avatar

    Now that Porsche owns VW, Porsche has no need to introduce an entire line of Audi-like cars and trucks for Porsche. Hopefully they can also stop VW from creating an entire line of Audi clones too.

    VW for now has 3 strong brands with unique market positions: VW, Audi, Porsche. Two of the brands are market leaders in their class. Audi is on its way there.

    They need to dispose of the other brands. The other brands are a tragic/dangerous distraction for management and capital investment.

    VW needs to cancel all the non-Porsches at Porsche, and all the non-VWs at VW from the line-up! Don’t pull a GM with these strong brands.


  • avatar

    The Cayenne wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it didn’t look incredibly like a frog-eyed squatting dog and if BMW hadn’t beaten Porsche to the punch by releasing their high performance SUV… errh… SAV… whatever… first.

    Honestly… I don’t hate the Cayenne… it’s powerful and it drives wonderfully (for a truck), but the fact that BMW makes something that drives as well (and now better, with the X6) for cheaper, and with more style, makes the Cayenne seem completely anachronistic.

  • avatar

    @holydonut: Are there any long-lived brands in existence today that provide the exact same product as they did back in 1970?

    Several quickly come to mind: WD-40, Zippo lighters, Vise-Grip wrenches, Duck Tape (makers of duct tape), Crayola crayons, Scotch tape and Elmer’s Glue. Most of the latter ones have had line extensions, but all still make the same product they did in 1970.

  • avatar

    Buzz –

    Those are good examples. It’s interesting when you consider the “parent” company though. Interestingly the Zippo company actually felt that its “lighter only” business model was going to doom the company.
    Zippo had been criticized at times throughout its history for being too conservative, in particular in regard to line extensions. But under Schuler, Zippo began a more aggressive diversification approach, beginning in 1993 with the acquisition of the crosstown W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company, a firm with annual sales of $15 million. Case was founded in 1889 in Little Valley, New York, but relocated to Bradford in 1905, where it developed a line of pocket knives, hunting knives, household cutlery, and commemoratives. The company had filed for bankruptcy after a difficult period and then was bought out of bankruptcy by a limited partnership, River Associates, in 1990. Case’s products meshed well with Zippo’s and provided Zippo with another avenue into the retail market. Soon after the acquisition, in fact, dual gift sets that included a Case knife and a Zippo lighter were soon being retailed at prices ranging from $50 to $200.

    WD40 Company felt it was important to buy 3-in-One oil and Duct Tape offers many colors of tape now (along with craft-use double-sided) versions.

    But Edward is up in a tizzy because Porsche would dare sell a non-purist item as an SUV instead of a 911-shaped thing. So would it also mean that it is “unpure” for Vise Grips to have introduced a locking wrench in recent years? People were not content at just having locking pliers. Would a locking wrench be an abuse of the brand name?

    And I definitely have to remove Rolex from contention. They were one of the primary drivers behind quartz movements; and quartz almost killed automatic watch movements.

  • avatar

    I just don’t get all the Cayenne/X5 hate that the internet generates.

    My girlfriend and I like to go on road trips. We like going out on the trails. We are considering buying some property on Mt Hood. I run a business that sometimes (2-3 times a month) requires that I haul a bunch of junk around. We like driving rapidly, though by no means need the performance envelope of a “sports” car (i.e. we want something competent and quick). It sometimes snows here in PDX and when it does, our city snow infrastructure sucks (we were trapped at home for 2 weeks during the last storm).

    An X5 or Cayenne is, in many respects, the perfect vehicle for our lives. Throw any road (highway, urban area, b-road or unimproved trail) at either of these vehicles. They might only do 80% of what a dedicated purpose built Jeep Wrangler or sports sedan is going to do, but I’ll bet that that performance envelope easily includes 100% of what we would ever want it to do. How cool is that?

    Farrago once said “The Cayenne is one of the most deeply misunderstood vehicles today.” I totally agree and keep eyeing used ones.

  • avatar

    A message to the doubters: Come to my house, drive a six-speed ’08 Cayenne GTS, and your eyes will be opened.

    This trucklet kicks all sorts of ass, it’s as fast over the road as anything short of a tuned Evo, and it’s a fun way to drive around the inner city.

    At least some of you realize that the Cayenne is the reason Porsche isn’t asking for a bailout… or is it just GM and everybody else who should give people what they are willing to buy, not what they feel like making?

  • avatar

    While the 3 Liter 6-cylinder Diesel engine probably won’t fit in a 911, Boxter or Cayman, there will be no problem fitting it into a Panamera (as well as a revived 928). A Diesel Panamera has the potential to become Porsche’s new sales volume leader as SUV sales tumble.

  • avatar

    Jack: “At least some of you realize that the Cayenne is the reason Porsche isn’t asking for a bailout…”

    But…bu…but isn’t Detroit being blamed partly for doing just that, builiding heavy gas-guzzling vehicles when gas is so scarce and expensive?

    I though Toyota/Honda were the perfectly-placed manufactureres in terms of product mix. And hey, let’s stop this truck-bashing shall we, the F-150 isn’t doing too bad now, is it?

  • avatar

    Porsche is not Chrysler or GM. I know people love to speak with absolutes and generalities – but the Detroit automakers and German automakers have very different business models. The troubled automakers rely heavily on extreme capital investment and constructing a huge volume of low-margin vehicles to pay for their investment. Guess what happens when the volume of business falls out from underneath.

    Contrast this with companies that are priced in a manner where their margins are massive (Porsche). All that “German Engineering” may have some value, but it definitely isn’t giving you 2x the car even though it’s priced as 2x the car.

    These companies didn’t just show up one day and had their business models in place. They grew over generations, and are the summation of all the minutiae that people love to prat on about on a daily basis. There is no magic solution; although I find that people really wish one were to exist. Brand and product strength is just another piece of the puzzle. You still have to have a solid business planning strategy, corporate culture, operational excellence, and employee dedication to success. Oh, I guess not being in the eye of a recession would be beneficial as well.

    It’s very easy to spread topical platitudes for one company that is successful when comparing it to another company that is not successful – or vice versa. Toyota isn’t better than GM just because Toyota has stronger brands. Porsche isn’t becoming the next GM just because they diversified their product portfolio.

  • avatar

    i would easily take a Toureg over a Cayenne

  • avatar

    If the Cayenne had allowed them to make the prices on the good stuff a bit cheaper or to not have ridiculous option package prices, that might be fine. Otherwise, the Cayenne can burn a slow death in a special circle of hell.

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    I personally do not like it at all – it is ugly, not class leading (even if it is far from an embarassment), the interior is cheap and does not wear very well (but then again that is the case with all post 993 Porsches).

    However it does have other things going for it – as mentioned already, it will not get people out of their Boxters and 911 but actually speaks to a totally different driver demographic. In fact I know a lot of people who drive a 911 and got a Cayenne as a second car, instead of an S Class or Range Rover. In that way it’s a winner. I also do not think the brand will be massively tarnished, because people who used to want and buy 911 will mostly still do so, given that there are not that many similar alternatives out there (I do not mean that there are no cars with a similar or better price performance envelope).

    It is also decently profitable, which is useful.

    As for Porsche and bailout, give it a bit of time – if the VW share drops by 50%, which it very well might, Porsche will be in a bailout que right next to Opel. In a similar fashion the hedge fund lawsuit against it has potential for some ruinous damage. And their Porsche brand car sales are tanking almost as badly as those of any European manufacturer. But if Porsche goes down for good, it will not be as a result of the Cayenne, just as a result of the megalomania that is equally present in its board as it used to be in Detroit. ;)

  • avatar


    “A message to the doubters: Come to my house, drive a six-speed ‘08 Cayenne GTS, and your eyes will be opened. ”

    Amen to that.

    How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cayenne GTS

    It’s interesting to me that there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground on this issue. Opinions are so polarized that it’s either love it or hate it with nothing in-between.

  • avatar

    I actually like the X5 and X6. The X6 is a totally useless vehicle, but it drives like a sportscar, looks great (well, as great as a truck can look) and, with the excellent 3 liter twin-turbo diesel, goes like stink.

    The Porsche Cayenne feels much more special inside… but again, if I have a truck that good, I’d want it to look a little nicer… no offense to Cayenne owners, but its looks are only marginally better than the current WRX.

    At least it doesn’t look like a Tribeca.

  • avatar

    Porschephiles would not be caught dead in a BMW – twice.

    Sure, everyone wants to give the cheaper substitute a chance but, in the end, they always return to the Porsche.

    You can compare a BMW to an Audi, but they are mid level – not premium automobiles.


    BMW driving Porschephile

  • avatar

    History will show that the Cayenne was the beginning of the end of Porsche. I give them 10 years before they are competing directly with Audi producing a full line up of vehicles virtually indistiguishable from their Audi sisters.

  • avatar


    “History will show that the Cayenne was the beginning of the end of Porsche. I give them 10 years before they are competing directly with Audi producing a full line up of vehicles virtually indistiguishable from their Auid sisters.”

    Why is this a bad thing? As long as the heritage, quality and tradition of the 911 and Porsche motorsport remain alive in some future model, what different does it make how many other cars/trucks/4 doors/family trucksters they produce?

  • avatar


    Branding relates to hard-wired human psychology.

    The tighter (simpler, more focused) a brand, the more powerful it is. Memorable. Compelling. That sort of thing.

    The more it tries to do/be, the weaker it becomes. IBM was mainframe computers. Then laptops. Then consulting (“solutions”). Then extinct. (Ish.)

    Pontiac? Buick? Yes, even Mercedes and Porsche. All these brands have lost/are losing their appeal.

    You can run but you can’t hide from basic human nature.

  • avatar


    I don’t disagree with you, at least not completely. However, I think a “brand” or “branding” can do/be quite a bit and still be “tight”.

    Most of what constitutes a brand, the sum of its parts if you will, are intangible.

    According to David Ogilvy (one of the more famous marketers of my generation), “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes: its name, packaging, and price, its history, its reputation, and the way it’s advertised.” These are the things that define a brand.

    In some ways, the whole Cayenne/Panamera argument reminds me of Apple as they started to evolve from more than just a computer company for graphic designers and digital artists. In the early days, Apple had a die-hard audience and core user-group that had eyes only for the Mac. As the company/brand grew and expanded, more and more product lines were added and their audience widened beyond just this core group of “purists”. This did not dilute the brand, it only served to make it stronger.

    I think the Cayenne has added to the Porsche brand (through it’s performance characteristics and Motorsport achievements) and expanded on the good doctor’s original intent for the company.

    “I couldn’t find the sports car SUV of my dreams, so I built it myself.”

    At least 250,000 other people agree.

  • avatar

    # JEC :
    March 8th, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Gotta pay the bills somehow, I guess. Whoring yourself out to soccer moms is a pretty good way.

    They pay a lot of bills with invesetment games like the one with VW stock options last year.

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