Years ago, the enthusiast crowd and many industry observers were appalled at Porsche’s introduction of the Cayenne. Clearly an effort to build volume and profit for the company, many feared an SUV would destroy the Porsche brand.
The naysayers (me included) were wrong. The Cayenne has gone on to be the brand’s biggest seller and I think it’s fair to say that the 911 just keeps cruising along as one of the world’s premier sports cars. One of the reasons that the Cayenne did not damage the Porsche brand was that Stuttgart was incredibly clear that the Cayenne would be the “Porsche of SUVs,” in other words, a high performance SUV. Jeff Zwart (a Porsche factory driver as well as commercial director) directed, participated in and produced this Cayenne introductory video for Porsche:
Obviously, the sole purpose of this video was to establish the Cayenne’s performance credentials and lineage. Porsche successfully expanded volume by introducing a product true to the brand’s core values and marketed it successfully based on those values. In fact you could argue that Porsche is doing exactly the same thing with the Panamera (introducing the “Porsche of four door sedans”). We could debate whether the world needs another high performance sedan given Audi’s S models, BMW’s M series and Mercedes-Benz AMG models, but so far Porsche Panamera sales indicate that from a product point of view, Porsche judged the market well.
Porsche has successfully proven that it can expand volume by carefully developing line extensions that reflect the brand’s core value of performance.
So why, would they allow their latest marketing campaign to go so far afield? What would possess them to feature the iconic 911 and the very successful Cayman in communications designed to demonstrate that they are not “just” high performance sports cars, rather they are excellent everyday drivers:
Do the marketing folks at Porsche really think that a perception of a lack of everyday utility is holding back sales of 911s? Really? (more…)