Porsche drops plan for entry-level model, CEO says
BERLIN -- Porsche has dropped plans to build a two-seat sports car that would have been smaller and cheaper than its Boxster model, CEO Matthias Mueller told a German newspaper.
Such plans would risk diluting the brand and alienate traditional customers, according to Mueller. "We would do no good to the brand if we were to lose traditional Porsche customers" by adding a model below the Boxster, the Stuttgarter Zeitung quoted the CEO as saying in a report published on Saturday.
Last year, Mueller told Automotive News Europe that the company was assessing a small mid-engine sports car as a possible successor to the iconic Porsche 550 of the 1950s. He said such a model could launch in 2014.
In January, Mueller downplayed the possibility of the car's launch, telling business publication Wirtschaftswoche: "Possibly we need to wait until the next generation of customers before the idea of a small roadster will work for Porsche."
In Saturday's interview, Mueller told the Stuttgarter Zeitung that Porsche also has no immediate plans to develop a smaller version of its four-door Panamera sedan, though he indicated that such a model could become an option in five or six years.
German car magazine Auto Bild had said Porsche will introduce a smaller Panamera by 2017. Code-named Pajun for Panamera Junior, the car would compete with the Mercedes-Benz E class and CLS coupe cars, Auto Bild reported on Thursday.
Porsche is expanding its lineup as it aims to double annual deliveries to about 200,000 sports cars and SUVs by taking advantage of resources at Volkswagen, which owns 49.9 percent of Porsche's core business and is currently examining ways to purchase the remainder.
Porsche makes the 911 sports car, the Boxster/Cayman series, the Cayenne SUV and the Panamera. The company will next year start building a fifth model, the Macan compact SUV.
Sources: Reuters and Automotive News Europe