Porsche AG will invest more than R8 billion to develop, and establish production facilities for, its upcoming four-door Panamera model. The Züffenhausen-based manufacturer expects to sell 20 000 of the front-engined rear-wheel drive models a year.

Porsche AG will invest more than R8 billion to develop, and establish production facilities for, its upcoming four-door Panamera model. The Züffenhausen-based manufacturer expects to sell 20 000 of the front-engined rear-wheel drive models a year.


The legendary German sports car manufacturer announced that its supervisory board and board of management "gave their go-ahead today (on Wednesday) for the development and production of a Porsche model series", but the emergence of the Panamera (its name was reportedly derived from the legendary Carrera Panamericana long-distance race), had been widely expected by motor industry scribes.


Last week, reported that Panamera bodyshells would be produced in Austria, from where they would be transported to Leipzig, Germany. The Panamera, ostensibly fitted with the Cayenne's 4,5-litre V8, in turbocharged and normally-aspirated forms, and an adapted version of the 448 kW 5,7-litre V10 currently offered in the Carrera GT, was expected to be assembled alongside Porsche's highly-rated SUV, with which it would share much of its powertrain, the report said.


In an apparent response to the German magazine's article, the manufacturer announced that the Panamera would indeed be built in conjunction with the Cayenne and Carrera GT in Leipzig, but a spokesman said "the final decision (would) require further talks between the boards of management of Porsche AG, Porsche Leipzig GmbH (and) representatives of the employees at the plant".


In addition, Porsche president and chief executive Dr Wendelin Wiedeking said on Wednesday: "The German share in the creation of value with the Panamera will be approximately 70 per cent. Like the 911, Boxster and Cay­enne, the Panamera will bear the 'Made in Germany' stamp of quality".


If confirmed, a new production line in Leipzig would require a major extension of the assembly hall already in operation. "Should the site be chosen for production of the Panamera, it would po­ten­tially create some 600 new jobs in Leipzig alone (over the course of the next two years). Approximately 400 more new jobs will be created at Porsche's original plant in Zuffenhausen, where the engines for the fourth model series will be built, and at the Weissach Development Centre," the company said.


Dr Wiedeking was further quoted as saying: "We have taken a lot of time to make this decision. The Panamera is the right car for Porsche, as it has the typical charac­teristics of a ge­nuine sports car and meets (our) standards in design and driving dynamics".


As can be seen from CAR automotive artist Duwyne Aspeling's impression, the Panamera (shown here alongside a conceptual sketch of the car supplied by the Porsche Centre South Africa) will be a four-door fastback coupé in the vein of the Mercedes CLS.


However, the Panamera will not share its platform with Volkswagen, as suggested. Codenamed the C1, Wolfsburg's platform - engineered for rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive - was expected to underpin the second-generation Phaeton range, a luxury crossover to take on Mercedes' R-Class, and a Bentley model.


Dr Wiedeking stated that Porsche would develop and build the Panamera through Züffenhausen's own resources.


"We will be developing a separate platform for our fourth model series in Weissach. There are no plans for a joint venture with another car maker. But to ensure the profitability of this new model series we will cooperate more closely than so far with selected system suppliers," he said.


In local reaction, Toby Venter, the head of Porsche Centre South Africa, said: "This (the Panamera) is a significant and definitive step forward for Porsche. It will complete the marque's model line up (and) add a new dimension to the Porsche driving experience."