Porsche AG, the Volkswagen AG unit that builds the 911 sports car, said it will reach a target of selling more than 200,000 vehicles a year in 2015 or 2016, about three years earlier than initially planned.
Investments in expanding and modernizing factories in the region around its Stuttgart, Germany, hometown will exceed 1 billion euros ($1.32 billion) by 2018, and the manufacturer plans to decide on a new model line next year, Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said.
“Porsche has made an enormous leap forward over the last years,” Mueller said today at a press conference at the carmaker’s museum near division headquarters in Stuttgart.
Earnings from its luxury brands helped Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW, Europe’s biggest carmaker, cushion the fallout from economic woes in its home region, where demand for new cars is falling to a 20-year low amid unemployment rates lingering near record highs. Porsche accounted for 1.29 billion euros of group first-half operating profit of 5.78 billion euros, the third-largest earnings contributor after the Audi premium unit and the mass-market VW car nameplate.
The effects of the European sovereign-debt crisis are far from over, and “the political and economical framework conditions worldwide bear significant uncertainties,” Mueller said.
Porsche, which ranks first at Volkswagen in terms of profit per vehicle, plans to expand its sales network 33 percent by 2018 as demand for upscale vehicles jumps in emerging markets such as China and the division adds models. The carmaker, which also builds the Cayenne sport-utility vehicle, is investing 200 million euros annually to increase the number of dealerships to 1,000 outlets in five years from about 750 in early 2013.
The division is adding to its line-up after Volkswagen integrated Porsche as a business just over a year ago. Porsche will be showing the 918 Spyder, an $845,000 limited-run hybrid supercar that will be its most expensive model ever, at the Frankfurt car show beginning next week.
The expansion is part of a push by Porsche to boost annual sales as Volkswagen targets becoming the world’s biggest automaker by 2018. Porsche handed over a record 143,096 vehicles to customers in 2012, an increase of 22 percent.
Eight-month sales rose 15 percent from a year earlier to “about” 107,000 cars and SUVs, keeping Porsche on track to cross the 150,000-delivery threshold this year for the first time, Mueller said.
The 918 Spyder is scheduled to go on sale later this year, joining a line-up that includes revamped versions of the Boxster roadster and Cayman sports car that were made lighter and faster to shore up Porsche’s reputation for performance. The carmaker plans to roll out the compact Macan SUV in showrooms in early 2014, and it introduced a new version of the Panamera four-door coupe at the Shanghai auto show in April.
After the Macan enters the fleet, Porsche is considering adding a smaller version of the Panamera and a $250,000 sports car that would challenge the Ferrari 458 Italia.
Mueller said the Macan is targeted to contribute about 50,000 units to Porsche’s annual vehicle sales. The model will help Porsche and VW to reap cost synergies 1 billion euros starting in 2015, he said.