53 Years and a Million Reasons Why This Was Such a Good Idea
Porsche recently crossed an important milestone – the 1 millionth Porsche Cayenne rolled off the production line and was delivered to a smiling customer in Germany. Not bad for a sports car company that took the gamble to start the design and production work for an SUV style vehicle in the late 1990’s – that’s when most of us were pondering the Y2K problem!
It took Porsche 53 years to produce 1 million 911 coupes. The Cayenne has surpassed that number in a brief 18 years and looks easily set to overtake the all-time 911 production numbers. Along with its SUV partner, the Macan, the Cayenne has changed the Porsche dynamic and stolen the show.
Three Successful Generations of Cayenne Story So Far
The concept of the Cayenne was announced as far back as 1998 – it was simply known as a sporty all-terrain utility vehicle and didn’t actually get the Cayenne name until closer to its launch in 2002. At that time, it was seriously frowned upon by Porsche enthusiasts who hadn’t really got over the then recent change from air-cooled cars to a water-cooled 911. Now an SUV comes along; what was Porsche thinking?
18 years, 1 million models produced and three generations of Cayenne later and clearly, Porsche was thinking! The Cayenne sent Porsche down a road that has radically changed the dynamic of the company and re-positioned the way we think of it. With the introduction of the Macan and the Taycan to the existing Cayenne and Panamera, Porsche’s coupe segment forms a significantly smaller proportion of thinking than many imagine. We await final sales numbers for 2020, however early data would suggest, even with the new generation 992 deliveries, coupe sales of the 911 and 718 will likely be less than 20% of the overall new cars sales volume in the USA.
Multiple Flavors – Pay Your Money, Take Your Choice
The Cayenne has blossomed since its introduction and set the trend in the SUV market with many other high-end manufacturers following the plan. Through the three generations, the Cayenne model range expanded to include the Turbo and more recently the hybrid versions. Will we see an all-electric Cayenne during generation four?
The Cayenne is fun and exhilarating to drive, yet can be used as a practical SUV every day. The performance versions, such as the Turbo S, can get you to the grocery store with the kids in the back at record breaking speed. Or for real fun, the 450HP twin turbo V8 can clock 60 mph, in a mere 5.6 seconds – that’s faster than many 911s and the Boxster or Cayman series! It’s easy to drive, oozes luxury, yet is honest to the Porsche racing heritage. What’s not to like?
Cayenne or Macan – The New Start Point?
The Boxster or Cayman was always seen as the entry level Porsche, but the data now suggests that in fact the Cayenne or the Macan SUV are the starting point for most new relationships with a Porsche vehicle. Indeed, in the past five years, the Cayenne and Macan have recorded sales numbers of more than double that of the 911. While sales of the Boxster / Cayman platform have declined rapidly.
Many new owners view Porsche as an SUV company with a racing coupe pedigree. That’s quite a bit different from the historical view of a lumpy air-cooled fancy VW that is so widely adored and continues to rise in value today. Quite the change of direction.
All three of the Cayenne generations have experienced some mechanical issues during their production – many have been resolved through recalls or safety campaigns, yet the car remains reliable and solid in most of its models. See our guide to Cayenne common problems for more detail.
Many of the first generation of used Porsche Cayenne owners were shocked at maintenance costs. The market segment was relatively new and misunderstood. That led initial buyers to choose the Cayenne ahead of a used domestic SUV, without really understanding what they were getting into. We fondly remember our first $10,000 ceramic brake replacement on a Cayenne Turbo and a Cayenne S that was abandoned at one of our shops because the basic work to make it road worthy exceeded the value of the car!
The Cayenne requires more expensive repair and maintenance work than the equivalent domestic SUV, but, c’mon, it’s a Porsche! There’s plenty of money to save by using an independent Porsche repair shop and paying attention to the required scheduled maintenance.
If you are considering the plunge in to the used car market for a lightly used, pre-owned Cayenne, there are plenty to choose from. Our guide to buying a used Cayenne will highlight what to look for and help you avoid some of the potential risks. Early versions that have had the required maintenance and repair work, are bargains and still great cars today at 15 years of age.
The Colorado Strategy
With hindsight, the original strategy for the Cayenne and the collaboration with VW, in a plan called the Colorado strategy, was a stroke of genius. Talk that the Cayenne rescued Porsche from the abyss is nonsense, but we believe it’s fair to say that without the Cayenne, Porsche probably would not exist in the form it does today.
All that was left for Porsche to do when making the 1 millionth version, was to create a new model that wasn’t as its name suggests. Sure enough, to compliment the Taycan Turbo that isn’t a Turbo, we now have the recently announced Cayenne Coupe – well it’s not, it has four doors! We’re looking forward to the all-electric Cayenne Turbo S Cabriolet Coupe that isn’t any of those things.
Happy New Year.