An Indian SUV, the reason why the Porsche 911 Dakar could not be called Safari

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In 2022, Porsche presented the latest version of the Porsche 911. An off-road variant designed for adventures that take place beyond the asphalt: the Porsche 911 Dakar. Some people expected the last name to be Safari in honor of the models that participated in the East African Safari Rally, but it could not be. The reason? Tata. Yes, the car brand.

Thomas Krickelberg, manager of the Porsche 911 Dakar project, revealed this reason to edmunds. The German brand began development of this variant in 2012, with the previous generation of the 911, and the idea was to call it Porsche 911 Safari. A name with history, since it refers to the German models that, as we mentioned a moment ago, participated in the East African Safari Rally in 1971, 1974 and 1978. Although their starting point was a sports car, they had been equipped and reinforced for the occasion. Those cars became a concept and became known as the Safari.

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The German house therefore developed a prototype called the Porsche 911 Vision Safari that would become the production model: the Porsche 911 Safari (991). However, there was a problem: The rights to the Safari name, at least as far as the motor world is concerned, belong to Tata Motors. Since 1998, the Indian manufacturer has been producing an SUV called the Tata Safari… and it seemed unwilling to make a concession to Porsche: “We talked to them, but they didn’t give us permission. It was our Option A, so then we changed it to Dakar”.

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Dakar was not easy either

Dakar is also an illustrious and historical surname: it pays homage to the toughest race in the world in which Porsche has also tasted the sweetness of success, since, in 1984, victory in the Paris-Dakar Rally was his.

Of course, they did not have it easy with this election either. The German brand thought that it could use this name freely because it is the name of a city and, therefore, it is in the public domain. It wasn’t like that. In an automotive context, the rights belong to the Amaury Sport Organization (ASO). Or what is the same: the person in charge of organizing the aforementioned competition. However, Porsche obtained a permit… against payment.

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From doubts to launch

Porsche was ready for launch the off-road variant of the Porsche 911 in 2016, but doubts continued to hover over the project… and, furthermore, in 2020 they launched a completely new generation of their sports car. They had to start over to adapt the Porsche 911 Dakar to the new platform.

Thomas Krickelberg reveals that those in charge of the project believed in its viability from the beginning. It was another thing to convince the sales and marketing departments: they were concerned that the Porsche 911 Dakar would not generate profit by having a limited production. Finally, they succeeded and dispelled those doubts. I eat? Increasing production from 2,000 to 2,500 units, reducing development costs and setting an initial price of 256,042 euros.

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