Up until I was eleven, I pronounced Porsche in the plebeian, frowned-upon way. “I’ll take the Pour-sh,” I would tell my friends while we played racing video games and shoveled bags of chips into our mouths. Then I met an adult who actually owned one and they set me straight on the matter as I ogled their vintage 911.
“It’s pronounced like the woman’s name Portia,” he told me as I nodded and acted as though I understood, even though I had never met a single person with that name.
Since then, I’ve had countless opportunities to utter that name, and not just regarding the brand. Several of Porsche’s models use names that look easy enough to pronounce, but aren’t. However, as the years roll on, I’ve almost stopped correcting people — as I’ve become absolutely convinced of a conspiracy where Porsche does this intentionally so those in the know can lord it over those who aren’t.
While I don’t have any real supporting evidence for this, Porsche did just release a video explaining how to pronounce the name of its newest model — the Taycan.
You probably assumed it is pronounced like the word taken, perhaps with the last syllable akin to can. But, no, it’s actually pronounced tī-khän, with the first syllable sounding identical to the business-type neckwear and the last syllable sounding like a medieval ruler presiding over central Asia.
“The Taycan will be the first purely electric Porsche. But do you know how to pronounce its name correctly? Watch the video to find out! By the way, Taycan can be roughly translated as ‘lively young horse’ because it embodies power and strength,” Porsche says in the video’s description.
Lively young horse would be an absolutely terrible name for a car, but Taycan isn’t much better, in my exceptionally wise, yet also admirably humble opinion. Presumably, the name translates better from German but I couldn’t find it used anywhere on German horse breeding websites — and I wasted an entire lunch hour looking. Very fishy.
This led me to ask five members of my extended family how to pronounce the names of various Porsche models I wrote on a piece of paper instead of eating the spaghetti my mother had prepared specifically for my holiday visit. Two got Macan wrong, three mispronounced Cayenne, and nobody knew how to say Taycan. When I corrected them, their response was typically “They probably should have spelled it that way, then.” My father, who only faltered with Porsche’s new EV, was especially annoyed — noting that “this exact thing happened when they started building SUVs.”
I know this doesn’t prove that Porsche intentionally makes these car names difficult to pronounce. but I remain steadfast in my assertion that there’s a conspiracy afoot in Germany. If they needed a horse-centric name, they could have called it the Friesian or the Appaloosa. Perhaps they were concerned with using a German breed specifically, in which case they could have gone with the Aegidienberger or Holsteiner….
Actually, those are all terrible names too. Way worse than the made-up Taycan. My apologies to Porsche’s naming team. Keep up the good work; you are clearly doing your best to cope with what you’ve been given. Just continue issuing videos to keep us up to date with your experimental (German) usage of vowels and I will do my utmost to ignore your twisted, elitist naming strategy.