Porsche will increase work force 24% in global expansion

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WEISSACH, Germany (Bloomberg) -- Porsche plans to increase its headcount by about 24 percent to underpin its global growth ambitions.

The Volkswagen Group unit will hire about 5,000 employees over the next five years, primarily outside its home market of Germany, said Thomas Edig, Porsche's head of personnel.

The new jobs will be created in model development, production, sales and servicing, Edig said.

Porsche has added about 8,400 jobs since 2010. Its work force totaled 21,100 people worldwide at the end of May.

While still adding jobs, the pace of hiring at Porsche will actually slow as the division balances sales and earnings gains, Edig said. "We won't continue to grow along the lines of the past four years, but we do need to expand on the personnel side," Edig said at the briefing on Tuesday in Weissach, Germany.

Porsche has a target to sell a record 200,000 cars in 2015 after adding the Macan compact SUV in April. The Macan is Porsche's fifth model, joining the 911 and Boxster sports cars, Cayenne SUV and four-door Panamera coupe in the lineup.

With Porsche's hiring plans, "the key message is that they expect a significant growth over many years, not just because of the new products -- the Macan -- but also future expansion programs," said Juergen Pieper, a Frankfurt-based analyst at Bankhaus Metzler. "Research and development projects are going beyond Porsche's own products, covering sports-car projects for the whole group" at Volkswagen.

Possible supercar

Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller said in February that Porsche may decide in mid-2014 whether to add a $250,000 supercar to challenge Ferrari.

First-quarter operating profit at Porsche was about 18 percent of sales, and the division was the second-biggest contributor to Volkswagen's earnings, after the Audi luxury unit.

Porsche's margin "absolutely remains" targeted at more than 15 percent, Edig said. "That's a goal we're sticking to, and we're not departing from it. And we need to continuously earn that. We don't want to get fat."

Industry cuts

Porsche's hiring counters the trend to cut headcount and costs in the European auto industry as manufacturers streamline operations following a six-year slump. PSA/Peugeot-Citroen is seeking to cut 500 jobs at a French factory by offering early-retirement incentives. That's on top of plans to eliminate 11,200 employees in France.

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