Porsche yesterday opened a new factory for sports utility vehicles in Leipzig, eastern Germany, the Financial Times (FT) said.

The creation of a “second home” to complement the group’s Stuttgart base marked the beginning of a new phase in Porsche’s history, chief executive Wendelin Weideking said at the opening ceremony, the FT reported.

The FT said the €127 million ($US124 million) plant, built with recourse to state subsidies, will assemble up to 25,000 Cayenne sports utility vehicles a year.

The Cayenne, developed in conjunction with Volkswagen, was shown for the first time at the opening, the FT said, and widens the Porsche product range beyond the existing 911 and Boxster models.

The FT said the new Leipzig plant, adjoining a four-kilometre test track and customer centre, will also build the top-performance Carrera GT sports model from mid-2003.

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The FT said that Porsche officials declined to reveal this year’s production target for the Cayenne and, though the introduction of a third model range had for years been highly controversial, Weideking said he expected the SUV to be a massive success.