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Porsche to birth a tiger

German automaker Porsche names its new small SUV Macan, the Indonesian word for Tiger.

Porsche Macan sketch
Porsche released this sketch of the Macan, which shares little resemblance to spy photos around the Internet. Porsche

The Porsche design department apparently spends most of its time thinking up names for new models, rather than coming up with a new look for the 911, as evidenced by its announcement today that a new, small SUV, going into production next year, will be called the Macan. Previously, Porsche was toying with the name Cajun for this car.

A good portion of the world will have a similar reaction as it had when Volkswagen came out with the Touareg, as in "wha?". But Indonesians may jump up when they hear the name, saying "Macan?! Where?", as the word means "tiger" in their language.

Another word for tiger in Indonesian is "harimau," so it could have been the 2014 Porsche Harimau rolling onto dealer lots. If Porsche had stuck with German, the name would have been the same as in English, the 2014 Porsche Tiger, which actually sounds cool.

The new SUV will share a platform with the Audi Q5, and probably even its 3.2-liter V-6 engine. Porsche is on a roll with new model launches lately, intending to make itself more relevant by being more than just a sports-car maker. The success of the Cayenne showed that the company people would buy a four-door Porsche, so it followed up with the Panamera.

Of its model names, Porsche notes that "word names at Porsche have a concrete connection with the corresponding model and its characteristics: the name Boxster describes the combination of boxer engine and roadster, Cayenne stands for sharpness, the Cayman is snappy and agile, and a Panamera is more than a Gran Tourismo, capable also of winning the Carrera Panamericana long-distance race."

Does this mean the Porsche Macan will be a man-eater?