If you’re one of the purists who feel that real Porsches are air cooled and rear-engined sports cars, the announcement that Porsche will build a compact, entry level SUV is a sure sign the apocalypse is upon us. If you’re among those who aspire to own one of Stuttgart’s finest, but are saddled with the realities of raising a family, you probably see the Cajun as good news from Porsche. Either way, Porsche has announced their approval of the Cajun project, aimed at younger buyers new to the Porsche brand. The compact SUV is expected to compete against the Audi Q5 and the BMW X4 when it hits the market in 2013.
Details on body style (two door or four door), engine options and drivetrain have yet to be announced, but it’s safe to assume Porsche will offer gasoline and hybrid variants in the U.S., with diesel variants available in the EU. AWD is likely, although Porsche could reduce costs by offering a base model in RWD configuration.
The Cajun is important to Porsche for several reasons, First, it will help increase sales from current levels (around 81,000 units per year in 2009) to their stated goal of 150,000 unit sales per year. More importantly, it will help them achieve fuel economy standards set by both the United States and the EU, which will allow Porsche to continue sales of the iconic 911. Is the Cajun a good idea, or will an entry level SUV cheapen the brand image? Time will tell, but I suspect Porsche will sell every Cajun they build for the United States.