Celebrating The Cayenne: The Car That Saved Porsche

Off-Road / 2 Comments

No, really. It saved the entire brand.

It's safe to say that Porsche is pretty pleased with the Porsche Cayenne. Twenty years ago, the brand's first SUV proved to be the kind of cash cow dreams are made of. The brand has even called it a Porsche 959 successor. We're not sure about that, but the impact the Cayenne has had over the last 20 years can't be understated.

Ferdinand Porsche even called it way back in 1989: "If we build an off-road model according to our standards of quality, and it has a Porsche crest on the front, people will buy it." He wasn't kidding. You could argue the Cayenne saved Porsche at a time when the 911 was struggling. Folks weren't fans of the 911's switch to a water-cooled engine, and the Cayenne brought home the bread while Porsche figured out how to make its sports car customers happy again.

Porsche
Porsche
Porsche
Porsche

The first half of that statement is still true today. Porsche's run of SUVs far outsold the 911 in 2021, with the Cayenne and Macan outselling the 911 by a factor of nearly four. "The Cayenne has always been a major draw for our brand - it has brought many new customers and fans from all over the world to Porsche over the past 20 years," says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing.

Porsche will even tell you the Cayenne practically saved the brand. "It quickly became clear to the management that the legendary 911 and the new mid-engined model alone would not be able to lead the company into a secure future. Plans for a 'third Porsche' began to take shape." That third model would eventually become the Cayenne, then set to share a platform with the Volkswagen Touareg.

Porsche
Porsche
Porsche
Porsche

The Cayenne also brought a feature that we now take for granted in many a modern P Car: Porsche Active Suspension Management. The brand's active damper setup is now a staple across its model range and a much-loved feature among 911 enthusiasts. It's not very often you have the tech from your SUV trickle down into your range-topping sports car, but here we are.

Today, the Cayenne range encompasses a number of performance and eco-friendly trim levels, with the hybrid being launched back in 2014. The Cayenne is a staple at many a shopping center now, despite its serious performance and off-road credentials. Frankly, we don't care what people do with it, simply because it's the car that saved Porsche.

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Porsche
Porsche
Porsche

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