On this, TTAC’s authors and TTAC’s audience are largely in agreement: luxury sport utility coupes are not the answer to the vehicular challenges of this age.
So Porsche is probably going to build a Cayenne Coupe.
It’ll probably have four doors. It’ll probably be more expensive than a regular Cayenne. It will almost certainly not be as good or half as attractive as a Porsche Cayenne.
But some, yes some Cayenne buyers will choose the “coupe.” How do we know? Because BMW sells some X6s and some X4s, and Mercedes-Benz was pleased enough with BMW’s success that it decided to sell some GLE and GLC Coupes, as well.
Speaking to Autocar at the debut of the third-generation Porsche Cayenne, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume says the SUV-maker that builds sports cars on the side “is thinking about” it, but no decision has been made.Translation: Porsche is considering building a vehicle to take on overpriced, impractical niche utility vehicles from its German competitors.
Indeed, it’s more than a consideration. Porsche’s chief designer, Michael Mauer, says the company has created a model of what the Cayenne coupe would look like. Mauer adds that this is nothing unusual. “We’re always asked to come up with proposals,” Mauer says. “For each and every model, we have a lot of ideas. But there has to be a business plan.”
Roughly seven out of every 10 Porsches sold around the world is now a Macan or Cayenne, yet Porsche hasn’t evolved either lineup to include any derivatives as Porsche has previously done with its three car models: hard and soft top mid-engine sports cars, hard and soft top rear-engined sports cars, a new Sport Turismo wagonized Panamera. Beyond introducing an even smaller utility vehicle — which would, if it ever occurs, likely be the size of a Mercedes-Benz GLA with a price more similar to the GLC — Porsche has room to grow the Cayenne and Macan lineups.
That’s what BMW did with the X5 in 2008, when it spawned the X6. Nearly 57,000 X6s have been sold in America since. It’s what BMW did again with the X3 in 2014 when it was used as the basis for the X4. More than 17,000 X4s have been sold in America since. Neither the X6 nor the X4 appear to have had a negative impact on their donor vehicles. The BMW X5 hit record-high U.S. volume in 2015; the X3 did so in 2016.
Mercedes-Benz, as one might expect, then followed up with its own competitors to the X6 and X4 — the GLE Coupe and GLC Coupe. The recipe was simple to follow: decrease practicality and flexibility and attractiveness — though beauty is, as always, in the eye of the beholder — and charge more money. Sell a few, though not many, and do so at no expense to the donor vehicle. Mercedes-Benz doesn’t separate GLE and GLC Coupe sales figures from the regular models, but production tallies suggest 25 percent of GLEs sold are coupes. That’s around 8,600 of the 34,458 GLEs sold during the first eight months of 2017. If accurate, that’s more than the X4 and X6 put together before the GLC Coupe is even taken into account.
Regardless of volume potential or the lack thereof, Oliver Blume doesn’t feel Porsche needs more sales. While expecting the $85,000+ electric car based on the Mission E Concept to generate roughly 20,000 global annual sales, Blume says, “We have had good growth in the last few years, but the number of cars is less important than the needs of customers.” Porsche tripled its global volume between 2009 and 2016 but now looks for future growth of roughly 5 percent per annum.
A Porsche Cayenne Coupe would add very little to the mix, but if it’s something Porsche’s customers want, expect Porsche to follow the course set by its compatriots. Just as the Cayenne followed the X5 and M-Class; just as the Macan followed the X3 and GLK.
[Image: Porsche; Illustration: The Truth About Cars]