REV: MARCH 29, 2011
Porsche: The Cayenne Launch
In March 2003 the Porsche brand faced a challenge without precedent in 55 years. Since the e
launch of the Porsche 356 in 1948, the brand had stood for expensive, high-performance sports cars. Its designs, varying little over the decades, formed and then came to reflect the notion of a classic n
sports car. It was a connoisseur’s racing vehicle, engineered for speed and maneuverability. But it was also a rebel’s car; the car James Dean died in and that Tom Cruise ditched in the motion picture Risky Business. Always and everywhere, Porsches were sports cars.
2003 marked the end of this single-minded focus. In March of that year, it launched a sports utility vehicle (SUV), the Porsche Cayenne. The extension of the brand to a new product category posed many challenges. Looking ahead, the company had to think about how to position the Cayenne while protecting the Porsche parent brand. How much and in what ways would the Cayenne change Porsche’s image and brand identity?
The company also had to decide what to do about the on oing consumer-to-consumer ng
conversations in online Porsche brand communities. Some argued that online brand communities were an important source of consumer research. Others argued that the consumers who participated in the online conversations held views more extreme than the average consumer. Were they of any value in deciphering the market’s renegotiation of Porsche’s brand meaning? n
Ferdinand Porsche was born on September 3, 1875 in Bohemia, part of the former AustroHungarian Empire. After a brief stint as Daimler-Benz’s technical director, he left the company, which did not want to build small, fast cars for the public. Unemployed at 55, Porsche started his own design firm. The staff grew to include some of the luminaries of German automotive engineering, Porsche’s son, Ferdinand Anton Ernst “Ferry” Porsche, his son-in-law, Anton Piëch, whose son became chairman of Volkswagen, and a handful of key en ineers. Ferr became head of ng
research and development.
a This section draws from Jeffrey R. Fear and Carin-Isabel Knoop, “Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG” (A) and (B), HBS Nos. 706-018
and 706-019 (Harvard Business School Publishing, 2006).
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ HBS Professor John Deighton, Jill Avery (Simmons School of Management), and Jeffrey Fear (University of Redlands) prepared this case. This h
case was developed from published sources. HBS cases are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or illustrations of effective or ineffective management. Copyright © 2011 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to www.hbsp.harvard.edu/educators. This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.
This document is authorized for use only by Uma Jaidev at VIT UNIVERSITY until August 2013. Copying or posting is an infringement of copyright. Permissions@hbsp.harvard.edu or 617.783.7860.
Porsche: The Cayenne Launch
In 1934, Adolf Hitler asked Porsche to develop a family car that was both cheap and reliable—thus the “people’s car” or Volkswagen, was born. Its design was intended to evoke the German infantry helmet and honor National Socialist ideals. During wartime, Porsche focused on tank design, including the formidable “Tiger.” In June 1948, the company launched the 356, the first automobile to carry the Porsche brand mark. A Volkswagen factory manufactured the 356b, with its...
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