Porsche claims to have sold more cars in the last fiscal year than in any other year, The New York Times (NYT) reported.

The newspaper said Porsche posted a record pretax profit of $US830 million on sales of $4.87 billion in its fiscal 2002 results.

The NYT said overall sales of Porsche vehicles declined 0.6% but sales of the flagship 911 line rose 21%.

Porsche chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking said the German government helped Porsche achieve its record net profit by reducing the country’s corporate tax rate from 40% to 25%, the NYT said.

The NYT said most expensive Porsches sold better than the cheaper models. Sales of the entry-level Boxster dropped 21.4% but sales of the top 911 Turbo increased 8.6%, the newspaper added.

The New York Times said Porsche unit sales in North America declined 9.1% but British sales increased 24% while German sales grew 3.4% in an economy that was in recession for much of the year.

The NYT added that Porsche has orders for all 25,000 Cayenne SUVs it plans to produce for the year and estimates that more than half the sales will be in the United States.