Porsche Cayenne Case Study

1666 words 7 pages
Porsche: The Cayenne Launch –

During the more then 60 years that Porsche has been producing automobiles they have implemented a variety of design changes and launched many new models -- some drastic, others small. These changes have all been based on the brand’s firm ideals of high performance, fine craftsmanship and a high level of engineering,
With the launch of the Cayenne SUV, Porsche experienced an immense challenge in connecting its brand image and identity with the new offering, while maintaining brand legacy. As with any well-established brand there was an entrenched community of customers who participated in ongoing conversations about Porsche and the brand’s meaning. These online communities of loyal customers, such as
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In order to gauge reaction to the Cayenne before and after its launch, the company observed the large online community of Porsche owners and enthusiasts, who regularly discussed the brand and its many attributes. The largest of these communities was Rennlist, www.Rennlist.com. This community boasted nearly 36,000 active posters and a silent population of almost 200,000. Based on the posts in Rennlist and similar online forums, the Porsche brand was seen as an expression of ego associated with a masculine identity. The posts focused on areas such as performance, engineering, manufacturing adoration and racing prowess. Initial response to the Cayenne among Porsche drivers on these online forums was particularly harsh. As the launch approached online activity reached a crescendo – enthusiasts criticized everything from design and engineering attributes such as the front mounted engine, to the development and manufacturing processes, which were in conjunction with VW. The nature of these visceral responses suggested that Porsche’s brand credibility would be severely tested. The Cayenne went on sale in Europe in December 2002 and in the United States in March of 2003. Postings on Rennlist began to take on a hostile tone toward Cayenne owners with an attitude of exclusion or ostracism perpetrated by the purist Porsche enthusiasts who were part of the online community. This negativity prompted Cayenne owners to respond in