'..and news just in from our state the obvious correspondent. Porsche have confirmed the worst kept secret in Stuttgart and pledged to produce the long-rumoured Cajun, the baby Cayenne SUV.'
I'm not really sure this is what critics of the motoring industry had in mind when they talked up the advantages of downsizing in the recent economic crisis. But Porsche have done the sums and seen that with yet more platform sharing, this time with the Audi Q5, they can stamp out a mid size 4x4 to their own spec while expoliting their position in the VW Group, and have an undisputed winner on their hands. The fact is, they're right. The end result will, I predict right now, look unfortunate from the front and okay from everywhere else, have a gorgeous interior, handle and drive extremely well for an SUV, and be so desirable despite the cost that the new and already highly credited BMW X3 and Range Rover LRX won't know what hit them, despite not even being in direct competition. Worrying news for brands like Infiniti too, as now those who can't stretch to a Cayenne won't have to look outside Porsche for an alternative.
As long as Porsche sidestep the landmine of not making the Cajun different enough from it's Q5 sister, they'll be home and dry, and private school runs will never look the same again. Of course a big draw for potential Cajun customers will be the opportunity to buy into Porsche relatively inconspicuously, avoiding the stigma a Cayenne Turbo GTS drums up as it rumbles past.
I'm not going to totally slate the Cajun, despite not being a fan of its name, or much of the reasoning behind it, because as a car in its own right, in isolation, it'll be very good. I will however take issue with Porsche, and their ever-swelling model line-up. BMW got a lot of stick when it brought out the 1-Series for brand dilution, but the same badge was already available on the back of diesel repmobiles and softroaders; not very Ultimate Driving Machine. With Porsche's new strategy however, I'm ever reminded of the point made by one Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear a few years back concerning the Cayman, during one of his last credible road tests before the programme descended into more juvenile artificial nonsense. Clarkson pointed out brilliantly (at 4 mins 53s) that the Cayman slotted 'rather too perfectly' into the Porsche sports car range in terms of price, power, and performance, leading him to conclude it was designed not 'to be as good as a car can be', but to just 'fill a gap in the market.'
Now Porsche are up to the same trick with the Cajun, and it doesn't stop there. Before 2015 there'll be a baby Boxster with blown 4 cylinder engines making an appearance, all in an effort, as with the new SUV, to 'attract younger buyers to the brand.'
By this point then, Stuttgart's exports will be 2 mid engines soft top sports cars, a hardtop coupé mid engined sports car, a rear engined GT/track car, a mid size SUV, large SUV, large super-luxury-coupaloon and at some point, halo mid-engined hybrid hypercar, in the form of the production 918 Spyder. Furthermore, despite the Panamera's dire styling and slight driver disatisfaction, it was Porsche's fastest selling model ever, so the revered performance exec market held by the M5, XFR, and E63 incumbents will no doubt prove too tempting to miss out on in the future. And don't forget the new '928' Panamera based coupé in the works.
Apart from the impressive 918 project, the rest of the model range is starting to look a little bloated, with too many cars competing chiefly with each other. Upcoming releases like the new 911, seen testing frequently, and the 918, have to be 'got right' to maintain faith in the Porsche marque, and the top brass will argue that profit from their more practical offerings funds this. And yet perhaps Porsche should slow down its diversification away from the sports car, not forget the the 911 is still The Sports Car, before the soul is lost in the accounts department. To quote Mr Clarkson again: You can't argue with that.