Porsche Cayenne Hybridizing - Details at 11

FRANKFURT, May 23, 2005; Jan Schwartz writing for Reuters reported that German luxury carmaker Porsche will provide in mid-September the first details of plans to eventually build a hybrid version of its Cayenne sports utility vehicle, the company said on Monday.

The Stuttgart-based carmaker is holding talks with potential partners in the industry to develop a more fuel-efficient derivative of its best-selling model amid rising pump prices and sinking sales of the Cayenne in the United States.

"We will not showcase a hybrid study though," a spokesman for Porsche said, referring to the Frankfurt car show that begins in mid-September.

Hybrid cars, which trap and store brake energy to power an electric motor built alongside a conventional combustion engine, have enjoyed surprising success in the United States thanks to a painful rise in oil prices.

North American sales of the Cayenne dropped 27 percent to 4,424 units in the first four months of the year, a decline that Porsche has blamed on a strong base comparison and production bottlenecks.

The spokesman would not name companies with which Porsche is discussing the joint development of a hybrid powertrain, but the Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Monday that it was talking to Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler and Toyota, citing company sources.

Porsche aims to introduce a hybrid Cayenne at the latest when the next generation of its SUV is launched in 2008/2009, the German business daily added.

Since the Cayenne is partly assembled in VW's Bratislava plant together with the VW Touareg SUV, Porsche is leaning more towards choosing VW for technological and economic reasons, Handelsblatt reported.

Volkswagen declined comment, but a source at the company said that the report citing talks with Porsche over a joint hybrid powertrain "stands to reason".

DaimlerChrysler, which in December agreed to develop hybrids along with General Motors (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , has said it is open to letting other carmakers join the project as well.

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