Porsche is considering selling diesel versions of its Cayenne SUV and the Panamera sedan in the United States, its biggest single market. The brand may also unveil Panamera variants with a diesel engine and a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain at the Geneva auto show in March.
The models would help Porsche to meet demand for fuel-efficient cars that is growing fast even among luxury car buyers.
"We are discussing internally if we should introduce the Cayenne diesel in the U.S. this year. Also a Panamera diesel is an option," Bernhard Maier, the brand's sales and marketing chief, told Automotive News Europe.
Maier said Porsche has noticed that consumers in the U.S., where diesels currently have only a tiny market share, are increasingly choosing diesel cars. "We will make a decision soon," he said.
Porsche has sold a Cayenne diesel in Europe since early 2009. Last year, the company introduced a Cayenne gasoline-electric hybrid in Europe and the United States.
Maier said the diesel and hybrid versions account for 30 percent of Cayenne sales. "We expect the diesel and hybrid share to grow further in 2011," he said.
Porsche will not sell diesel cars in China because of poor fuel quality in the country, Maier said.
Geneva debut for Panamera diesel
Company sources told ANE that diesel and gasoline-electric hybrid versions of the Panamera are expected to be introduced before summer in Europe. The variants may be given a world debut at the forthcoming Geneva how.
Maier said Porsche deliveries rose by 27 percent to more than 97,000 deliveries in 2010 while order intakes rose by 49 percent to 114,000 units.
The company has seen a strong start to 2011 and expects total sales this year to be more than 100,000 units, Maier said. Porsche last posted annual sales of 100,000 in 2007 before the economic crisis hit luxury car sales.
"We have the highest number of orders right now in the company's history and are starting strongly in the new year. We will continue our growth story and will increase our deliveries to more than 100,000 units this year," Maier said.
Asia is the strongest growth region among Porsche's 113 global markets today with a sales plus of 40 percent in 2010 compared with 2009, Maier said.
Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller expects the brand to have annual sales of least 200,000 by 2018.