The folks at AutoCar UK have captured spyshots of the next generation Cayenne undergoing testing in Germany. Despite the current slump in the general SUV market, Porsche does not seem to be following the trend of building smaller SUVs, as shown by the hulk of the prototype vehicle. Fuel economy is not part of the consideration of any Porsche owner...The next Cayenne is expected to be release in 2010, before the released of its sister car; the Volkswagen Tuareg.
More images at AutoCar UK.
The next Cayenne will share many components with Porsche's first 4-door sedan - the Panamera, that is expected to be launch in 2009. A hybrid and diesel version of the Panamera will also be released shortly after the Cayenne hybrid. Thus, expect hybrid and diesel powertrain to be offered in the next Cayenne as well.
Sketch of the Panamera
Image courtesy of MotorTrader.
Look closely, and you will notice that the chrome silver surrounds on the cabin area are dummy lines meant to disguise the new reprofiled rooflines and rear quarter windows, meant to give the car a sleeker look to hide its huge dimensions.
Back in 2007, Porsche built a demonstration model of a current generation Cayenne mated to a full parallel hybrid powertrain. The vehicle was displayed at the 2007 Los Angeles AutoShow, featuring a NiMh battery pack under the trunk floor.
More images at AutoBlogGreen.
When launched in 2010, the Cayenne Hybrid will join the new generation Lexus RX450h and BMW X6 Active Hybrid in the luxury hybrid SUV segment.
When it was first released in 2002, the Cayenne was a controversial vehicle - which resulted in many purist Porsche fans and owners up in arms. Purist Porsche-philes like to perceive their favourite car marque as a maker of high precision, highly focused driving machines. For Porsche to build an SUV would be tantamount to selling the "soul" of the company to satisfy the "Yanks" Americans appetite for large SUVs, which at that point of time was the most lucrative market segment. In any case, the Cayenne, along with the Boxster were extremely crucial in turning around the almost-bankrupt Porsche when CEO Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking came on-board. Wiedeking first few tasks was to send his engineers to Japan to learn from Toyota the Toyota Production System and quality control tools. Quality quickly improved with Porsche now being on par with Lexus in many JD Power Initial Quality Surveys in many countries. Product wise, Wiedeking envisioned a new entry-level sports car (Boxster) to bring in a new group of owners to marque who would hopefully upgrade to a 911 later in their life. A mainstream SUV (Cayenne) would serve to lure those who desire the brand but are put-off the the impracticalities of a 2-door vehicle, and of course to "lock-in" existing 911 owners from leaving the brand when they need more functionality from their vehicles. Today, up to 60% of Porsche sales in many Asian and Middle-Eastern countries are contributed by the Cayenne.
Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking, father of the Boxster, Cayenne, and Panamera.
Image courtesy of MotorAuthority.
So while the Cayenne may have been controversial to purist Porsche fans, it was essential to bring in the volume necessary for Porsche to remain independent and to continue building its iconic 911, while other supercar manufacturers were struggling in the highly competitive car industry. Ferrari now belongs to Fiat and Lamborghini belongs to Volkswagen. Though now Porsche is partly owned by Volkswagen, I still consider it "independent" as both Volkswagen and Porsche were founded by Ferdinand Porsche.
The Lohner Porsche, image from Porsche archives.
And by the way, this is not the first hybrid built by Porsche. In fact, the first hybrid car in the world was not built by Honda or Toyota. When Ferdinand Porsche was a 25 year old engineer, he built the first hybrid petrol-electric vehicle in the world, in the year 1900!! When Ferdiand was working for a Vienna based coach builder k. u. k. Hofwagenfabrik Ludwig Lohner & Co, he built the Lohner Porsche featuring an internal combustion engine to recharage a battery that powers independent in-wheel hub motors on all 4 wheels. Thus making it not only the world's first hybrid, but the world's first 4x4! So, you think hybrids are a new thing? Think again. A German genius built it more than 100 years ago! Problem was fuel was too cheap then and the electronics required have not been invented yet.
Personally, I do understand many of the concerns of purist Porsche-philes. The brand is currently facing a challenge of being diluted by the new group of Porsche owners - footballers, bling-bling rappers, oil barons and the likes. In the old days, Porsche was a super-exclusive brand whose owners are usually highly precise drivers with a relatively deep well of driving talent, simply because the rear-engined 911, with its engine in the "wrong place" was a bit of a widow maker. Yes I understand many arguments that it is actually "not-that-scary-on-the-limit" but seriously unless you are Walter Rohl (Porsche's test driver), this car is going to eat you for breakfast, and then lunch. The car demands respect and is extremely unforgiving to mediocre driving skills. When London's financial district was booming in the 80s with a new generation of wealthy stock traders, there was a surge in demand for 911s, but shortly after that there was a large number of 911s in the second-hand market, because too many traders were crashing these 911s. So wanabes and posers, and of course stupid drivers with bigger balls than brains were either quickly killed or scared to death by the car and thus stayed away from Porsches, a rather sadistic but effective way of keeping Porsche brand's exclusivity.
Watch "Ringmeister" Walter Rohl take on the Nurburgring Nordschleife, on a wet day!
Look at what this Russian owner of a Cayenne did to his car. This hideous Cayenne was spotted in Moscow. Now do you understand why purist Porsche owners are concerned. Talent, brains or even taste do not necessarily come with wealth. But in this time and age, volume is king, even for a supercar company.
Image from AutoBlog
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Saturday, July 26, 2008
Posted by AutoIndustrie at 9:47 AM