Report: Porsche Eyes China, North America for Future Cajun Production
More so than ever these days, the auto industry is a global game that requires constant monitoring. To help achieve optimal results, Porsche is looking to expand its production operations outside of Germany, and it's been reported that both Asia and North America are on the radar.
Now offering much more than just the iconic 911, Porsche CEO Matthias Mueeller sees up to 200,000 global sales by 2018. To help reach the ambitious total, new models are being conscripted to service the needs and demands of a wider audience. To that end, the upcoming Cajun small SUV needs accommodations.
Without giving too much information away, Mueeller disclosed to German magazine Focus that Porsche's home plants in Leipzig and Zuffenhausen don't have the capacity to support the marque's sales goals.
"We will consider this year whether to start production in Asia or North America," relayed Mueeller to Focus.
The logical Asian choice is China, where parent company Volkswagen Group enjoys a strong and visible presence. The city of Changchun, located in the northeastern province of Jilin, is a longtime auto industry hub and home to a joint Audi-First Automotive Works factory, where the A4L, A6L, and Q5 are built. Due to platform commonalities, the Cajun could find its way here. It doesn't hurt that Audi is leading the Cajun's development either.
Production possibilities in North America are still up in the air. Both Mexico and the U.S. may be in the running, and with the Cajun not due until 2013, there's still time for plans to change.
Acknowledging his company's heritage, Mueeller took the time to assure the brand's faithful on overseas assembly in another interview with WirtschaftsWoche magazine.
"We are OK as long as we can say our cars are 'engineered by Porsche,'" said Mueeller.
Porsche isn't choosing between Asia and North America just to incite more purist reaction. Both global regions are key for growth, and the number of Chinese dealers is expected to more than double from 35 to 85 brick-and-mortars, eventually hitting 100. As a sign of added commitment, the renowned sports car maker is planning to place a new customer center and test track near the Shanghai International Circuit. The U.S. is Porsche's biggest market.
With the Cajun already inbound, speculation continues to run rampant on a future small roadster and a targa version of the Cayman. The entry-level Boxster and Cayman could soon be built in Osnabrueck, Germany, at a former Karmann plant.
Porsche sold 25,320 vehicles in the U.S. last year, with the Cayenne and Panamera comprising 16,084 of those sales, or just around 63.5 percent of the brand's total.
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