FRANKFURT -- Porsche's decision on whether to build an entry-level roadster will depend on the global economy, CEO Matthias Mueller said.
Mueller said that if the automaker decides to go ahead with the car, sales would begin at the earliest in the third quarter of 2014, but probably later.
A decision on production will depend on how the global economic situation pans out, particularly in relation to the auto industry, Mueller said.
"The financial crisis is real and we need to see how far it develops into an economic crisis develops,'' Mueller told the Financial Times Deutschland in an interview published on Monday. ''If this happens and it leads to a cooling of the auto industry, then this would certainly impact our strategy.''
Earlier this year, Mueller told Automotive News Europe that the carmaker is assessing whether to launch an entry-level roadster below the Boxster, which would be a successor to the 550. He said sales could start in 2014.
Mueller told the Financial Times Deutschland that the company may reach a decision on the car soon but may also delay deciding until until next year.
The two-seater would represent the cheapest model in the carmaker's lineup, costing around 40,000 euros.
If built, the roadster, along with the new Cajun small SUV, would represent a move by the automaker to attract customers not usually able to afford its other models.
Mueller said an economic downturn may hit the premium segment next year but even without the introduction of a small roadster, Porsche is on course to double annual unit sales to 200,000 by 2018.
The new 911 and Cajun, as well as growth in developing markets and an expansion of the automaker's dealer network, will enable Porsche to hit the goal, Mueller said.
Sales of Porsche cars rose 28.2 percent in year-on-year figures to 100,391 units in the first ten months.
Porsche, which currently sells a third of its cars in China, may also consider local production in the country, Muller was quoted as saying in the Financial Times Deutschland report.