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Porsche plans a seventh model

According to insiders the seventh model is most likely to be a mid-size sedan and sit below the Panamera in price.

Porsche has just released the sixth model in its line-up -- the Macan compact SUV -- but is already well progressed with secret plans to add yet another model to its range.

The German sports-car maker appears to not be content with having posted all-time record sales last year and has even bigger visions for the future.

The boss of Porsche, Matthias Muller, has indicated he would like a seventh model in the company's line-up. "If you include the super-sportscar (the 918) we have six models in our line-up," Mr Muller told journalists from China, Australia and New Zealand attending the launch of the Macan SUV in Leipzig, Germany.

"I think a seven-model series would be a good line up because most cars have a seven-year lifecycle," he said. "If we had seven models we could have a major event each year, as well as the (special edition) variants." Mr Muller would not say what type of car would become the seventh model.

Recent speculation has centred on a two-door version of the Panamera, a mid-engined Ferrari 458 rival (to bridge the price gap between the 911 and the 918) and a budget-priced sports-car to slot in below the Boxster.

However, according to Porsche insiders, the seventh model is most likely to be a mid-size sedan that would be a rival to the BMW 5 Series, and sit below the Panamera in price.

The Porsche sedan would be available with rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive just like the Panamera, say company insiders, who claim it would help give Porsche economies of scale by sharing some of its components with the Macan.

The mid-size Porsche sedan is said to be built off Audi's second-generation MLB (modularen langsbau) architecture, which is a development of what is already underneath the Porsche Macan.

Meanwhile, Porsche says the Macan is "exactly the right vehicle at the right time" even though it has only planned to build 50,000 this year. Last year Porsche sold 75,000 Cayennes -- but the compact luxury SUV market in which the Macan competes is much larger.

"This year the luxury compact SUV segment will reach a total volume of 1.3 million units," said Mr Muller, adding that the category had seen a staggering 185 per cent growth in sales since 2007.

Over the next 10 years, sales of luxury compact SUVs are set to exceed the 1.8 million mark, he said. "Porsche will broaden its customer base," said Mr Muller, "and most will be first-time Porsche buyers."

He said Porsche had just posted a record 162,000 sales in 2013 and was on track to eclipse the 200,000 mark for the first time this year. About one-third of all Porsches are sold in China, one-third are sold in North America, and one-fifth in Europe.

But Mr Muller says Porsche will continue to be a premium brand because sales growth will come from emerging markets.

"Porsche still only represents 0.25 per cent of cars on the road, or two to three out of every 1000 cars," said Mr Muller. "A high degree of exclusivity is assured for our brand. (But) we are going to grow profitably."

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling