Any plans for a fifth Porsche model line have been shelved indefinitely...
...as the company works its way through the global financial crisis and its high-pressure bid for the Volkswagen group.
"Another model line is not something we are concentrating on at the moment,” Executive Vice-President for Sales and Marketing, Klaus Berning says. "We may start looking at that after the launch of this car (Panamera) but my gut feeling is that we do not need one.
"I am not a magician, I do not know when the world situation will go back to the levels of 2008 — it could be 2011 and it could be 2017, I do not know but when it does I believe we have the potential with the product line we have to grow our sales to 120,000 or 140,000 without having to push for another model.”
At then end of the 2008 financial year Porsche had set a sales record of 98,652 cars worldwide with the three existing model lines — the 911, Boxster and Cayenne. First year production for the four-door GT Panamera has been set at 20,000 with Berning predicting that as many as 80 per cent of those cars will be incremental sales.
"People are constantly asking whether there will be another Speedster small sportscar but there is simply no need for that,” Berning says.
When asked whether it was possible that a four-cylinder Porsche could be in the offing to assist the company with its overall fuel averaging Berning was less dismissive of the idea. "You never say never, but we have not made any decision to go that way.
"It could be possible to have a four-cylinder again in a 911 ... but it would be a Porsche four-cylinder. The 911 is the core of the brand and it follows different rules to the rest of the brand models.”
Berning made it clear that he had no intention of taking questions on Porsche's stalled bid for the VW Group but did say that suggestions that Porsche was facing a total restructure were "totally BS”.
"In the car business we are one of the very few car makers the world over still writing black figures today — in the middle of the biggest recession and without benefiting from the scrappage bonus paid by the government in Germany,” Berning says. "Our operative return on turnover is in the double digit percentage range — a level of profitablity other manufacturers can only dream of.”
With a brand value of $17.5 billion (US) Porsche ranks 35th in the world for all companies and third in the global ranking of car manufacturers behind Toyota and BMW.
"Our brand alone is a precious jewel ... believe me, this small manufacturer of exclusive sporting cars is strong — very strong. I promise you that in a sybiosis with the Volkswagen Group Porsche will retain the independence and freedom we need to continue our success in business.
"Anything else would simply not make sense.”