Panamera debut delayed until April 2009

Porsche purists will have an extra month to keep their heads high now that the German company is delaying the debut of its first sedan, the Panamera . When the first official information and photos began trickling out of Stuttgart last week, everything pointed to an official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Now Porsche has changed the month and continent, with the premiere at Shanghai Auto Show in April.

Unlike the financial woes that have delayed cars from U.S. automakers, Porsche says the switch reflects the growing importance of China, India and Russia in its global sales strategy. Porsche sold 8,190 vehicles in China in fiscal 2007-2008, more than twice as many as in the previous year. Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking says he is hoping for "new market opportunities" and a "stronger presence" in regions like China and the Middle East.

Luxury carmakers like Porsche are definitely not immune to the global economic slowdown. This unveiling reflects Porsche’s strategy to use emerging markets to keep the Panamera on track to sell 20,000 units annually. Porsche isn’t even completely sure this target can be met. "In no case will we produce too many," Wiedeking said. Suggesting that current economic conditions may warrant cutting production.


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