Once upon a time someone stood up in a meeting and announced plans for a new SUV model. Nothing out of the ordinary in that….except the people in the meeting worked for Porsche.
And Porsche made sports cars.
That was back in 2002. The intervening decades have proved what a remarkably good idea it actually was, because the Porsche Cayenne is celebrating its 20th birthday.
At the beginning of the 1990s Porsche was in serious trouble. The company was deep in the red and delivered only 23,060 cars in the 1991/92 financial year. Something needed to be done.
When the Boxster launched in 1996, Porsche slowly began to manoeuvre its way out of its slump but it was still clear that the legendary 911 and the new mid-engined roadster alone would not be able to lead the company into a secure future. Plans for a ‘third Porsche’ began to take shape.
The only question was which segment of the market to target. The options were either an off-road vehicle or a people-carrier/MPV. At the time the largest Porsche market was America and the US was beginning to develop an obsession with the SUV, so that’s what we got.
Ambitions were high right from the start: Porsche was not content merely to build a sporting SUV but aimed to give the top competitors in the segment a run for their money. And it worked.
Shortly after its premiere at the Paris Motor Show in September 2002, the Cayenne became a worldwide success. Originally, it was expected that 25,000 examples would be delivered each year. In the eight model years of the first generation, 276,652 cars were sold – just under 35,000 vehicles per year. The millionth Cayenne, meanwhile, is now in the books – it rolled off the production line in the summer of 2020.
What makes the Porsche Cayenne so special?
The Porsche Cayenne is a family-friendly tourer, a robust off-roader, and a dynamic sports car with typical Porsche performance. That’s quite a combination and explains why the Cayenne has done so much to shape the SUV segment over the past 20 years.
For Porsche, the Cayenne has created the economic basis for sustainable success without compromising the performance values of the sports car brand.
“With the Cayenne, we have succeeded for the first time in successfully transferring the Porsche legend to a completely new market segment,” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, at the world premiere of the third generation on the roof of the Porsche Museum in 2017.
"Our sports car in the SUV segment has proven to be a bestseller and growth engine since 2002. And that’s not all. The Cayenne has opened the door to many new markets for Porsche and made a significant contribution to the internationalisation of our sales network.”
Much has changed in the last 20 years and the Cayenne has adapted too. Specifications and engine choices are wider than ever. Hybrid technology has improved both performance and efficiency. The Porsche Cayenne is a true all-rounder that can comfortably ferry a family in comfort, tackle the roughest terrain, and easily leave most of the competition in its wake.
The only thing that hasn’t really changed is the genius of the Porsche engineers and their uncanny ability to produce the perfect car.
If you need more proof, lease yourself a Porsche Cayenne and you’ll see exactly what we mean.
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