Every so often, I get a tweet from a reader or a viewer with an image attached to it that looks exactly like the one above. The tweet almost invariably says something like: "Can you believe someone made their own spare tire holder for a Porsche Cayenne?" Well, no, actually, I can’t believe it. But would you believe that spare tire holder came from Porsche itself?
Yes, it’s true: when the Porsche Cayenne first came out in 2003, there was an option to get a rear-mounted spare tire, which was stuck on there with a giant tire holder that looks like a more excessive piece of equipment than any spare tire holder in history. In fact, the one above is technically unfinished; the Porsche spare also had a cover that went over the tire itself, and said the model name on it — since it was covering up the model name on the tailgate.
Not only was this tire holder not a free option ("choose between a spare tire holder or under-the-floor storage") but it was actually massively expensive, if I recall correctly. I think the total figure was something like $1,000 or $2,000 extra, just for that giant backpack on the back of your Cayenne. The benefit was you got an extra full-size wheel and tire, and easy access to both. Naturally, few Cayenne buyers were interested in that benefit, and I seem to recall the rear-mounted spare lasted only two model years before it was cancelled for good.
Of course, you’re probably wondering why it happened at all. As many of you know, I worked for Porsche Cars North America for a while, and I posited the very same question to the people who were responsible for "options planning" — trying to estimate the "take rate" for various options. Although the same people who I spoke to weren’t involved in the rear-mounted spare, their response was interesting: When Porsche entered the SUV market, they had no idea what to expect. There was no Audi Q7, no Jaguar F-PACE, no Volkswagen Touareg, no Maserati Levante — there wasn’t even a Volvo XC90, as the Cayenne and XC90 debuted in the same year. The only other real rivals were the Mercedes-Benz M-Class and BMW X5, both considered "downmarket," and various Land Rover models, which were rugged and off-roady. Hence the rear-mounted spare, like the Land Rover Discovery.
Once Porsche started to figure out the market a bit better, they zeroed in on what to keep (sporty driving characteristics, standard all-wheel drive) and they jettisoned the rest, losing the rear-mounted spare quickly — and off-road gadgets like 2-speed transfer case and low-range gearing once the Cayenne was redesigned for 2011.
And that’s the store of the Cayenne’s factory — yes, factory — rear-mounted spare tire. Find a used Porsche Cayenne for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.