Porsche's new 911 Carrera and Carrera S editions come at a good time for the company as it considers extending its range, with a new design possible from 2005. The Porsche name is synonymous with high quality and high performance, and the updated 911, together with a well designed new vehicle, should ensure its polished brand image remains untarnished.

The two new 911 variants are branded as the Carrera and the high performance Carrera S. These newly developed models will be available in Europe later this year. The manufacturer, which builds only three model lines - the Cayenne SUV, Boxster coupe and 911 - is also thinking of increasing its range by launching a fourth new model. The new addition will probably be a four-door sports car and Porsche would expect it to push its annual sales up from around 75,000 units this year to approximately 100,000.

Although Porsche registered a considerable increase in profit and revenue for the first half of its fiscal year beginning August 1, the success of the 911 variants will be essential if it wants to maintain such strong returns. With sales of the ageing Boxster model dropping, there is no doubt that the 911, still considered one of the world's quintessential sports cars, remains crucial to Porsche's future development.

Manufacturing and selling a wider range of models would help Porsche to manage the large investment necessary to include the latest technology in its cars that is key to the premium segment it is targeting. By tightly focusing on its production costs, while striving to improve productivity and quality control still further, the German manufacturer should be in a satisfactory position when it makes a firm decision next year over whether to go ahead with the new model.

Through the last decade Porsche's sales, revenues and profits have continued to increase. Despite difficult market conditions, the recent introduction of its Cayenne model has proved successful. Added to the two new 911 models and a possible fourth model in the future, the German manufacturer has every chance of driving its profits upwards and enhancing its image - one that its competitors must deeply envy.