Porsche aims to cut costs by 6 percent in 2004

Stuttgart. Porsche aims to cut its production costs in 2004 despite achieving record profits.

Porsche boss Wendelin Wiedeking told workers at the German sports carmaker that fixed costs must drop by at least 6 percent in 2004.

"We have to create the resources necessary to finance the next phase of growth, " he told Automobilwoche (see interview).

Porsche will look for cuts across the board during the coming 12 months: costs, production processes and locations will all be considered.

Wiedeking said that there are still areas that "can slim down a little." Suppliers will also be asked to contribute to saving costs.

Wiedeking did not disclose whether Porsche had a savings target.

"This is not about 100 or 200 million euros. This is about maintaining competitiveness by keeping fixed costs relatively low."

The cost saving measures will also prepare the carmaker for the launch of a fourth model range, which is expected to be launched by 2006 / 2007.

Porsche is still not disclosing any details of the project. But the company aims to introduce this new model series without having to employ a huge number of new staff or investing in capacity expansion.

Wiedeking did not rule out a joint venture with another carmaker or farming out production to a contract coachbuilder such as Valmet Automotive in Finland.

Uwe Hueck, head of Porsche's works council, expects constructive cooperation with Porsche's board of directors over the cost-cutting measures.

"I am sure we can become even more efficient," he told Automobilwoche. But Hueck said he would pledge for new models to be built at Porsche's German plants.

It is still not decided where the Boxster coupe will be built -- Valmet has high hopes of winning this contract.

Wiedeking plans a better harmonization between the models of each series to help the company's growth.

He hopes that way there will be no drop in demand for several models at the same time -- which is currently the case with the 911 and Boxster.

Porsche plans to increase its North American sales network of 200 dealers by up to 15 new dealers. It hopes that annual sales of used cars in North America can be doubled to 12,000 units.

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