Porsche hopes to match last year’s 2.4 billion euro profit in 2013

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Porsche AG is aiming to match last year’s profit in 2013, the company said. In 2012, Porsche posted an operating profit of 2.44 billion euros ($3.17 billion), an increase of 19 percent from the year before. Porsche’s revenue rose 27 percent to 13.9 billion euros.

The Volkswagen Group subsidiary said net debt dropped to 1.87 billion euros at the end of December from 2.58 billion at the end of 2011.

Porsche delivered a record 143,096 vehicles to customers in 2012, an increase of 22 percent, it said today. Its global sales in February increased 18 percent to 10,454 cars.

Earnings this year will probably match the 2012 figure, and the division is “cautiously optimistic” about this year, Chief Financial Officer Lutz Meschke said in a statement released at a press conference at the brand’s Stuttgart headquarters.

Porsche plans to expand its sales network 33 percent by 2018 as demand for upscale vehicles jumps in China and the U.S. and to keep pace with the brand’s expanding lineup.

Porsche will invest 200 million euros ($260 million) annually to increase the number of dealerships to 1,000 outlets in five years from 750 outlets today, CEO Matthias Mueller said today in a statement released at a press conference at the brand’s Stuttgart headquarters.

Porsche is adding to its lineup after VW Group integrated the sports car maker as a brand in August.

Porsche introduced updated versions of the Boxster roadster and the Cayman sports car last year, making them lighter and faster to shore up its reputation for performance, and will roll out the compact Macan SUV in early 2014.

“Our international dealership is being expanded at a high pace,” Mueller said. “In China alone, there’s a new Porsche Center opening almost every month.”

The third-generation Cayman, which debuted at the Los Angeles auto show in November, can accelerate to 100kph in 4.6 seconds, 0.2 second faster than its predecessor. The top speed of the updated model is 283kph compared with 277 kph for its predecessor.

The expansion is part of a push by Porsche to boost annual sales to at least 200,000 cars and SUVs by 2018, when Volkswagen has a target of becoming the world’s biggest automaker.

After the Macan, Porsche is considering adding two more vehicles, including a smaller version of the Panamera four-door coupe and a $250,000 sports car to challenge the Ferrari 458 Italia.

The 918 Spyder, an $845,000 limited-run hybrid supercar, will be Porsche’s most expensive model ever when deliveries start later this year.