Let’s say you’re one of the world’s most highly vaunted makers of sports cars. Now, let’s say you find yourself in a situation in which the demand for sports cars has dropped precipitously, but the demand for SUVs is near stratospheric. The logical response would be to build an SUV leveraging the sporting heritage for which your company is known, and in the process, take advantage of an opportunity to introduce something completely new and distinctive to the market.
Ah, but that brilliant thought overlooks the legions of naysayers who’d insist building and marketing such a vehicle will tarnish the luster of your nameplate’s glorious heritage. Significant innovations are often met with equally significant resistance. Selling out in such a manner, placing such an intensely coveted name across the rump of a TRUCK, would be pure heresy they say.
It’s amazing how seriously people take these things.
It’s equally amazing how wrong they can be.
The Porsche Cayenne sold like crazy.
In its first year of availability in North America (2003), the Cayenne accounted for some 45 percent of Porsche’s sales volume. In 2004, a full 57 percent of Porsche vehicles sold were Cayennes.
Remarkably though, there are still people out there today who hate the Cayenne and claim it is both an abomination and an insult to the legacy of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche.
Regardless of how you feel about the Cayenne, the fact of the matter is the SUV both saved the company and set it on a new trajectory. Were it not for Cayenne, Porsche’s Panamera (accounting for 31 percent of Porsche’s sales in 2010) would not exist today.
And, it’s very possible, neither would Porsche.
There have been three generations of the Porsche Cayenne to date.