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Porsche Names Upcoming Compact SUV

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author photo by Nick Palermo February 2012
  • Name derived from the Indonesian word for tiger
  • Previously referred to as "Cajun" by automotive press
  • Available by 2013

The automotive press has been aware of an upcoming compact Porsche SUV, a smaller sister model to the company's currently available w, for some time. But the real name for the vehicle has remained a mystery. Now, the German automaker has revealed a name and a rendering showing its sleek shape in profile. Called the Macan, the new SUV sports a distinctively Porsche-look nose and a shape similar to that of the bigger Cayenne, but with a more dramatically raked rear glass.

Porsche says the name is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger, reflecting an off-road-capable vehicle that shares the animal's power and agility. Bernhard Maier, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing of Porsche AG, says the company carefully selected a name it thinks will work around the globe.

"The name of a new Porsche has to fit with the brand, sound good in very many languages and dialects and evoke positive associations," said Maier.

To fit the Porsche brand, a vehicle must be sporty. All of the company's offerings exhibit a flair for high-performance. Interestingly, Porsche refers to the Macan as a "sports car in the SUV segment," rather than a sporty SUV. While the Macan is likely to share parts and underpinnings with products from Audi and Volkswagen, particularly the Q5 and the Tiguan, it will certainly require significant performance-minded upgrades to fit Porsche's intentions.

Porsche has big hopes for its smaller SUV, expecting the Macan to be a strong seller like the Cayenne. That SUV boosted Porsche's sales worldwide. But economic downturns, specifically in Europe and the US, have affected the luxury SUV's success. Whether or not the smaller, and likely more affordable, Macan can help Porsche outside its traditional sports car segment will be revealed later. The Macan begins rolling off of the production line at the company's Leipzig plant next year.

What it means to you: A new Porsche SUV is on the way. The Macan is smaller than the Cayenne and on track for production in 2013.

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Porsche Names Upcoming Compact SUV - Autotrader