Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2011 (Revised December 2012)

Porsche: The Cayenne Launch

by John Deighton, Jill Avery and Jeffrey Fear

Abstract

Can an online discussion forum supply insight into the evolution of brand meaning? In 2003 Porsche launched a sport utility vehicle, dividing Porsche purists from newcomers to the brand. Vocal members of online and offline Porsche communities ridiculed the Cayenne SUV and disapproved of the new breed of driver. Some opposed offering Porsche club membership to them, and some even refused to extend the fraternal Porsche 'wave' or headlight flicking to them on the road. Porsche's values of speed, luxury, and a certain masculine zeal resonated strongly with its devotees, while drivers of the Cayenne (which came to be known as 'the SUV for soccer moms') tended to be safety-conscious, family-oriented, and conservative. Evolving debates on forums allow a class to debate whether the brand had strayed too far from its core values and was at risk.

Keywords: Knowledge Sharing; Knowledge Use and Leverage; Risk Management; Brands and Branding; Product Launch; Product Positioning; Social and Collaborative Networks; Auto Industry;

Citation:

Deighton, John, Jill Avery, and Jeffrey Fear. "Porsche: The Cayenne Launch." Harvard Business School Case 511-068, February 2011. (Revised December 2012.)