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Panamera in, Carrera GT out

All change: Carrera GT (above) and the official Panamera sketch (below).

Carrera GT supercar out, Panamera sedan in as Porsche reshuffles its Leipzig plant

Porsche logo22 May 2006

By MARTON PETTENDY

TWO weeks ago Porsche announced it had ceased production of the legendary Carrera GT supercar at its Leipzig plant on May 6 - today the German sportscar marque has announced it will employ the same factory to manufacture its fourth all-new model line, the four-door Panamera.

Currently under development following confirmation of its production in May 2005, the four-seater grand touring sedan (Porsche prefers to call its a sports coupe) will join the 911 coupe/cabrio, Boxster convertible/Cayman coupe and the Cayenne SUV in Porsche dealerships in 2009.

Its production will involve significant further investment and expansion to the Leipzig facility, including the construction of a new 25,000 square-metre production hall and the extension of the existing assembly hall.

A 30,000 square-metre logistics centre will also be built near the new hall from September, bringing Porsche's overall investment in new buildings and production facilities to 120 million Euros.

"Right from the beginning in the production of the Cayenne and the Carrera GT, our Leipzig plant has proven that it is in a position to build premium cars of the highest quality," said Porsche AG president and CEO Dr Wendelin Wiedeking.

"So taking this decision in favour of Leipzig is a clear sign of confidence in the skills and abilities of our workforce at the plant, and at the same time a further contribution to the economic development of the new states of Germany in the East.

"Making this pledge to Germany as a centre of industry, we are enhancing the inherent value of our sports cars – and at the same time we are meeting the expectations of our customers," said Dr Wiedeking.

 center imagePorsche said that Panamera's engines, which are expected to include derivatives of the Cayenne's 4.5-litre naturally-aspirated and turbocharged V8, will be built at Porsche's main Zuffenhausen plant in Stuttgart, while Volkswagen's Hanover facility will supply bodies-in-white.

"We have decided in favour of the Hanover Plant because it is one of the most modern plants within the entire Volkswagen Group and is in a position to build the body of the car with the premium quality we require.

"A further advantage is that the paintshop in Hanover allows a wider range of colours than at other VW plants," said Dr Wiedeking.

Porsche said that this would represent six per cent of the vehicle's entire value, while the degree of in-house production of the Panamera in Porsche's own plants will be 15 per cent.

Porsche is quick to point out that 70 per cent of the car's "value creation" will be in Germany, thanks largely to German suppliers, creating 600 new jobs within Porsche Leipzig GmbH and a further 600 in the region - recruitment of which will start in 2008.

Meantime, the final Carrera GT rolled out of the Porsche production facility in Leipzig on May 11, bringing to an end what the company claims is the most successful supercar in history.

More than 1270 examples of the V10-powered, left-hand-drive-only Carrera GT were sold since its introduction in late 2003, representing a greater number than the total production of the McLaren F1, Ferrari Enzo and Pagani Zonda models combined.

Powered by a 5.7-litre naturally aspirated V10 engine developing 450kW and 590Nm, the limited-edition supercar-for-the-road claimed a 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.9 seconds on its way to a top speed in excess of 300km/h.

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