* Porsche to unveil Panamera offshoot in March -sources
* To focus on consolidation rather than volume gains
* Porsche to build Bentley cars at Leipzig -sales chief
By Andreas Cremer
PARIS, Sept 29 Porsche said it will be targeting
younger buyers with a new model of its redesigned Panamera
sedan, as the sports carmaker continues to branch out from its
Volkswagen -owned Porsche, traditionally known
for high-performance two-door sports cars, said it will offer
the Panamera as a shooting brake - a type of vehicle body which
combines the sleek lines and low roof of a coupe but adds the
practicality and boot space of an estate.
Porsche ventured into sport-utility vehicles in 2002 and
last year announced investment of 1 billion euros ($1.12
billion) in its first all-electric model.
Porsche will unveil the Panamera offshoot at the Geneva auto
show in March and start selling the model in the second half of
next year, two sources at Porsche said on Thursday.
"With this car, we believe we will appeal to slightly
younger and more active customers," sales chief Detlev von
Platen said in an interview at the Paris auto show, declining to
comment on launch dates.
The new model will compete with the Mercedes-Benz
CLS shooting brake and mainly court younger buyers in Europe and
China as demand in the United States for such vehicles is still
lagging, von Platen said.
Porsche drivers in Europe and the U.S. are in their early
50s on average and in their 30s in China, which last year
surpassed the U.S. as the brand's biggest market, a spokesman
Porsche, a key contributor to VW group profit, hopes to be
as successful with the revamped Panamera as it was with the
first-generation model which sold about 20,000 units per annum
during its 7-year lifespan, von Platen said.
Separately, the executive said Porsche wanted to manage its
growth since 2011 rather than focus on new volume gains. Global
sales at the Stuttgart-based manufacturer almost doubled to
225,000 cars last year from 119,000 in 2011.
"It's not just volume but also the entire company and
processes which have become more complex," von Platen said.
"At some point that needs to be consolidated, that's
Porsche will in future also build Bentley cars at its German
plant in Leipzig as part of a VW-led push to improve cooperation
among the premium brands, von Platen said. Leipzig assembles the
Panamera and the Cayenne and Macan SUVs.
($1 = 0.8917 euros)
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)