HomeCar NewsPorsche Wanted To Use Safari Name - Tata Motors Says No

Porsche Wanted To Use Safari Name – Tata Motors Says No

Auto companies are quite serious about copyright laws, as already seen with ongoing battle between FCA and Mahindra over Roxor

Tata Porsche Safari
Image – Namaste Car

Rally-ready Porsche 911 Dakar has been quite a sensation ever since it was unveiled last year in November. As great as it looks and its off-roading capabilities, there are also some interesting stories about how the car came into being.

Development phase of Porsche 911 Dakar has seen several challenges, including resistance from internal teams. The entire story of how Porsche 911 Dakar came into existence has now been shared by Thomas Krickelberg, director of the 911 Dakar program.

911 Safari nameplate

During the development of previous-generation 911, Porsche had decided to call it 911 Safari. It was among the most appropriate names, as Safari-styled vehicles are all about being rugged and ready to take on any terrain. These are usually equipped with stronger suspension, larger tyres and various other features that make them a capable off-roader. Porsche had even developed a prototype named 911 Vision Safari that was to be used as a teaser for the production model.

However, Safari suffix could not be used for the car, as the rights to that name are with Tata Motors. Launched in 1998, Tata Safari had emerged as a popular choice in India. It was relaunched in 2021 and is available in select global markets. Krickelberg said that they had requested Tata Motors to allow them to use the Safari name. However, it was denied. This is when the team decided to use the 911 Dakar name.

Porsche wanted to call their Dakar car '911 Safari'
Porsche wanted to call their Dakar car ‘911 Safari’

But getting the Dakar name was another challenge, as the copyright to that in automotive space is owned by Amaury Sport Organization, or ASO. This is the entity that organizes the Dakar rally. Dakar is also a city, so Porsche hoped that they should be able to use that name. However, due to copyright issues, Porsche had to eventually seek permission from ASO. This request was approved, as unlike Tata, ASO is not a car manufacturer and not a rival. However, Porsche had to pay the appropriate price for use of Dakar name.

Internal challenges

While the design and development teams were confident about the success of Porsche 911 Dakar, the sentiments were just the opposite with the company’s sales and marketing teams. The latter were not so sure about the potential of an off-road 911 and believed that it will likely fail to register profits. Due to internal challenges, the development of the car slowed down.

Later, when new generation of 911 was launched in 2020, the Dakar project had to undergo major changes. It was also the time when internal conflicts started getting resolved. To make it viable from a business perspective, production target was increased from 2,000 to 2,500 units. Efforts were also made to reduce development costs. Starting price was fixed at $223,450 including destination. An optional Rallye Design Package with historic racing graphics was also introduced at $28,470.

The final hurdle was overcome when the sales and marketing teams got to experience Porsche 911 Dakar hands-on. Once they got into the driver’s seat, it did not take long to realize the car’s potential. The project was approved subsequently. Depending on 911 Dakar sales, a decision may be taken to introduce the Dakar template to other Porsche cars. Some likely candidates include Macan, Cayenne and Taycan EV. However, copyright challenges will again be there, as only 911 is allowed to use the Dakar name.


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