Porsche has given the green light to a fourth model series - the Panamera, a premium sports 'coupé' with four seats and four doors, that will be powered by various front mounted engines driving the rear wheels.

The new car will go on sale in 2009. Porsche's total investment in the new model series, including development, will be more than €1 billion which will be entirely funded by the automaker. Expected sales are at least 20,000 units a year.

Production of the Panamera is provisionally earmarked for Leipzig, where Porsche already builds the Cayenne SUV and Carrera GT. The final decision will require further detailed talks between management and employee representatives.

It would also require a major extension of the assembly hall already in operation today starting in 2006/2007. Should the site be chosen for production of the Panamera it would potentially create some 600 new jobs in Leipzig alone. In the course of the project approximately 400 more new jobs will be created at Porsche's original plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, where the engines for the fourth model series will be built, and at the Weissach Development Centre.

Wendelin Wiedeking, Porsche president and CEO said: "We have indeed taken a lot of time in making this decision. But now we know one thing for sure: The Panamera is the right car for Porsche, as it has all that typical DNA characteristic of a genuine sports car."

Wiedeking said that Porsche will be developing and building the Panamera itself: "We will be developing a separate platform for our fourth model series in Weissach. There are no plans for a joint venture with another car maker. But to ensure the profitability of this new model series we will co-operate more closely than so far with selected system suppliers."