September 11, 2003


Porsche’s globular SUV is a hit in Knoxville and in Sydney. The other day, during a five-minute drive to the SCG to retrieve a Collingwood scarf I’d donated for a newspaper photoshoot (for which I didn’t even get a scarf credit), I saw two of the majestic behemoths. (Wasn’t the Segway -- here’s a riced-up version -- meant to be everywhere by now? I’ve seen none to a total now of five big 4WD Porsches. The Cayenne is the vehicle of tomorrow!) Porsche’s US magazine ad campaign is excellent, and calculated to annoy anti-SUV types; I can’t recall it exactly, but one is along these lines: “If you think 450 horsepower is too much for carrying the kids to school, you should fix your thinking.”

Something similar, anyway. An ad like that would never run in Australia, where power bragging brings down upon you the cotton-wool-covered, no-sharp-edges wrath of our ever-vigilant Safety Pixies. A single front-page newspaper story in 1972, for example -- 160 MPH ‘SUPER CARS’ SOON: MINISTER ‘HORRIFIED’ -- was enough to force Ford, GM, and Chrysler to cease Australian development of planned V8 models. To this day power figures are rarely quoted in ads, or made a strong selling point. Which is why the Mazda RX-8 controversy in the US wasn’t replicated here; buyers didn’t know of Mazda’s overstated horsepower claims in the first place.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 11, 2003 03:11 AM

Those Cayennes are getting everywhere. I've seen two already in Costa Rica, which has an average yearly income of around $8,000. They're $117,000 here. Where the hell the money is coming from I do not know (although I have my suspicions).

Posted by: David Gillies at September 11, 2003 at 03:26 AM

That's not a Cayenne.

(opens up freezer door)

Now that's a Cayenne...

Posted by: Roger Bournival at September 11, 2003 at 03:50 AM

I've seen those US ads in Australian magazines... It kind of makes me wish I had something in the area of $300k to spend on a car...

Posted by: Marty at September 11, 2003 at 06:59 AM

I think there are probably five of those things just in the parking lot at my work! People here in Texas love their SUVs!

(Random - When I first saw a picture of the Cayenne, I thought it was so very ugly, but now that I've seen them on the road they are kinda nice.)

Posted by: amy at September 11, 2003 at 08:22 AM

Tim, saw one in Barcaldine, western Qld on Monday morning. Now that's Landcruiser / Patrol territory. Four enormous exhaust outlets and whisper quiet. Not too sure about that ground clearence though!

Posted by: Rod at September 11, 2003 at 08:41 AM

Side-note: I took a RX-8 out for a spin the other day. Spin is the operative word - those twin rotors are amazingly willing, and seemingly open-ended. Didn't get close to the red, but did get to 120 clicks very quickly indeed. Nice car.

I'm betting an ad agency uses ELF-types in a SUV promotion before the end of the year. Hey, how about bringing out the SUX-6000 for real!

Posted by: Craig Mc at September 11, 2003 at 11:16 AM

The prospect of a country that doesn't deify horsepower is somewhat depressing. So much other wonderful things about you Australians, but that folks regularly obey the speed... it is sad.

I made my 78 mile homebound commute in a delightful 66 minutes, traffic inclusive. The joys of a 500 SEC.

Posted by: Andrew at September 11, 2003 at 02:44 PM

The ad about the 450 hp has run in The Australian. Leastways, that's where I read it.

My ex does the Porsche ads in Australia. Not a brag, more of a "I notice the Porsche ads" thing.

So am I a troll again?

Posted by: Fork at September 11, 2003 at 06:05 PM

Didn't notice it in the Oz, Fork. I stand corrected. The point remains, I guess, that such ads are rare.

Wonder if they got any complaints.

Posted by: tim at September 11, 2003 at 10:06 PM

Tim... One of the (quite a few) things this Kiwi admires about your fine country (apart from its gutsy stand against terrorism) is the fact that when I wanted a stroppy but affordable V8 I found it in the Ford Falcon AUII XR8. And then, I found an Aussie-built supercharger to ice the cake a little more. Outstanding.

Posted by: Rene at September 12, 2003 at 09:26 AM

My pleasure, Mr Tim, no need to stand.

Hey -- you could have swapped that scarf for drugs!

Posted by: Fork at September 12, 2003 at 11:42 AM