STUTTGART, Germany — Porsche insiders have confirmed to CAR magazine that the German luxury automaker will launch a long-wheelbase Panamera sedan in early 2012 with a 150mm wheelbase extension to free up more space for rear-seat passengers.
The Panamera is a popular vehicle in Europe and, more recently, in China. The Wall Street Journal reported that demand in China helped Porsche sales increase by 47 %. China’s growing elite upper class commonly uses chauffeured transportation not just out of luxury but also because of the government’s crackdown on drunk driving.
Mark Bishop, the group director for Jebsen Motors — Porsche’s largest distributor in China — told the Wall Street Journal that China has become the No. 2 market for Porsche worldwide and is the biggest single market for the Cayenne SUV and 4-door Panamera sedan.
When LCT contacted Porsche Cars North America to inquire about long-wheelbase version of the Panamera, they said it is unknown if or when a long-wheelbase Panamera will be available in North America.” The company recommended keeping in contact with the sales department as the closest authorized Porsche dealership. Further inquiries about the reason for extending the wheelbase went unanswered, but it’s not hard to see that it’s a response to the rising demand of rear-seat comfort for chauffeured clients.
Sources: CAR Magazine; WSJ; Porsche North America; Michael Campos, LCT assistant editor