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Official: Porsche confirms Cajun

Petrol-electric Porsches: 918 Spyder concept leads Cayenne S Hybrid and 911 GT3 Hybrid R.

Sub-Cayenne luxury SUV confirmed as Porsche also readies sub-Boxster sportscar

30 Nov 2010

PORSCHE has officially confirmed it will produce an entry-level luxury SUV to be positioned beneath the Cayenne.

Porsche’s long-rumoured baby SUV is now being developed under the working title of ‘Cajun’, a nameplate revealed two months ago by Volkswagen CEO Dr Martin Winterkorn in an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel.

No further details were provided in the statement issued today (November 30), but the Cajun is expected to be based on sister company Audi’s Q5 and should be launched globally by the end of 2014 as a key plank in Porsche’s mid-term drive to double annual sales to 150,000 vehciles.

“In confirming the ‘Cajun’ the Supervisory Board has instructed the Board of Management to drive forward the development of a further model to series production,” said Porsche.

“This efficient and sporty model will further expand the world’s most successful Porsche segment in the SUV sector. In addition to the new Cayenne, which has clearly consolidated its market position as the most successful sporty SUV in the premium segment, the ‘Cajun’ will also have a very positive impact with its typical Porsche features such as light weight, ease of handling and agility.

“As an attractive entry model in the Porsche world, the ‘Cajun’ will attract new and even younger customers to the premium brand along with the Boxster, the market leader in the segment of two-seater, mid-size sportscars.” Speculation of a smaller Porsche SUV has existed since before Porsche registered the ‘Roxster’ trademark in 2007.

25 center imageOfficial confirmation of Porsche’s sixth model line – joining the Boxster/Cayman, 911, Panamera and upcoming 918 plug-in hybrid supercar – follows unofficial news from Porsche CEO Matthias Muller that the German sportscar maker will also introduce an entry-level sportscar to sit below the Boxster.

As the latest example of Porsche’s new product-sharing strategy with new parent company Volkswagen, the all-new small mid-engined sportscar will be based on VW’s BlueSport concept and is expected to be publicly unveiled in 2012 before going on sale in 2013.

“We have a model based on the BlueSport, but we are not yet ready to show it,” Mr Muller told journalists at the LA show. “When we are convinced about the project, we will be ready to show it. The first time you see it, it will be as a production-ready car.” The as-yet-unnamed sub-Boxster model could be powered by naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions of a new four-cylinder engine, which could also power the Cajun and next-generation Boxster and Cayman, as well as doing duty as an engine-generator in a range of hybrid vehicles.

In October, Porsche vowed to produce a hybrid version of every model in its range.

The Cayenne S Hybrid went on sale here earlier this year as Porsche’s first hybrid and will be followed next year by the Panamera S Hybrid, while Porsche also revealed the 911 GT3 Hybrid R racecar this year and has promised to put the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar concept into limited production within four years.

While Porsche is also believed to be working on two-door coupe and convertible derivatives of the four-door Panamera grand tourer, a preview of the production 918 was provided by an image of a clay model last week (above), when Porsche announced a long-term strategic plan for its research and development centre in Weissach.

Porsche said on November 23 that it would invest around €150 million ($A204m) in a high-tech wind tunnel, a state-of-the-art design centre and an electronics integration centre at Weissach, which will gain around 100 additional engineers in its first stage of expansion.

“The new system will help us to maintain Porsche's top position in the fields of aerodynamics and design and to further extend our lead. Outstanding design with optimal aerodynamic efficiency have always been classic Porsche strongholds,” said Porsche AG’s former board member for R&D, Wolfgang Dürheimer.

“This spatial proximity is a major advantage. The close interaction of our suppliers' various electrical system/electronics experts and colleagues from related specialist fields during development will contribute significantly to the success of our work, particularly in the case of electronics, which now play a role in virtually every vehicle component.” On the same day Porsche confirmed the Cajun, Dr Dürheimer was appointed as chairman of the Bentley Motors executive board, as well as becoming president and CEO of Bugatti and motorsport director for the entire Volkswagen Group, which aims to overtake Toyota as the world’s largest car-maker by selling 10 million vehicles a year by 2018.

Mr Muller, who was the previous head of product planning, product management and model ranges for the Volkswagen brand and the VW Group and took over from Michael Macht as Porsche AG chairman on October 1, paid tribute to Dr Dürheimer, who will take up his new post at Bentley and Bugatti on February 1, 2011.

“A number of new models and model series spurring the international success and growth of the sports car manufacturer were created under his leadership,” said Mr Muller.

“Cayenne, Panamera and the RS Spyder racing car all bear the unmistakable hallmark of Wolfgang Dürheimer, and are a testament to his outstanding expertise in the field of intelligent and efficient sportscar development.” While Mr Macht will join the Volkswagen AG board with direct responsibility for group production from October 1, Dr Dürheimer (52) will be succeeded by Wolfgang Hatz, who will become Porsche’s new head of development in addition to his current role as head of engine and transmission development for the Volkswagen Group.

Mr Hatz (51) is a former BMW, Porsche, Opel, Fiat and Audi engineer.

The departure of Dr Dürheimer, who was Porsche’s last remaining non-Volkswagen senior manager at board level, marks the closure of a significant chapter in the history of the hallowed German sportscar brand.

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