Reuters reports that Porsche will provide in mid-September the first details of plans to eventually build a hybrid version of its Cayenne SUV.
A spokesmand for the company said that it is in talks with unspecified potential partners to develop a more fuel-efficient hybrid version of the Cayenne. The Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Monday that Porsche was talking to Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler and Toyota, citing company sources.
Last October, Automobilwoche first surfaced the possibility of a Porsche-Toyota connection. (Earlier post.)
The Handelsblatt report, however, favors Volkswagen.
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.”
Perhaps, but Volkswagen is far from an enthusiastic advocate of hybrid technology.
The Cayenne is Porsche’s best-selling model in the US, but sales of the models have been dropping rapidly, unlike the other models Porsche offers.
During the first four months of this year, Cayenne sales dropped 28% to 4,164 units, down from 5,773 units for the same period in 2004. The drop in April was even a more precipitous 38% to 1,071 units from 1,738 in April 2004.
Porsche has blamed the drop on a variety of factors, but fuel efficiency is not one of them. Nevertheless, with SUV sales overall stalling in the US, the company is clearly looking for a way to reduce its risk in that area. The base model Cayenne delivers 17 mpg combined (13.8 liters/100km), according to the EPA.