Porsche on Thursday said it substantially increased sales and revenue while turning new record profits in the 2003/04 fiscal year, which ended July 31, 2004.

At the Paris motor show, Porsche president and CEO Wendelin Wiedeking said: "Our pre-tax profit will exceed the one-billion (euro) threshold thanks to our consistent growth course, strict cost discipline and continuous increases in efficiency."

Final profit details will be released in November.

According to preliminary figures, the Porsche group's revenue increased by 13.9% to approximately €6.35 billion (€5.58 billion in the previous year). Sales increased 15% to 76,827 units (66,803) due primarily to the outstanding success of the Cayenne sport utility vehicle.

Porsche sold 39,913 units of the luxuy SUV, almost twice the previous year's figure (20,603). Sales of sports cars decreased by 20.6% to 36,692 units (46,200 units in the previous year). Porsche said this was for "life cycle reasons", in other words, the redesign of the 911 and Boxster; the latter made its show debut at Paris.

Of the 911 series, 23,704 units were sold, 14.7% fewer than in the previous year (27,789 units). With 12,988 units sold, the Boxster recorded a 29.5% decrease in sales. Porsche sold 222 Carrera GT high-performance sports cars in its first year.

Production rose 11.3% compared to the previous year (73,284 units), to 81,531 units. Manufactured vehicles exceeded the sales volume because numerous new-generation 911s were built in advance for the worldwide market launch at the end of the fiscal year. Production of the 911 decreased by 9.9% to 26,650 units, compared with 29,571 units in the previous year, while production of the Boxster decreased 28.3% to 13,462 units compared to 18,788 units in the previous year.

Of this total, 8,862 units (18,031 in the previous year) were built in Finland. Porsche's Leipzig plant produced 41,149 Cayenne and 270 Carrera GT models.

Despite uncertainties in the global economy, Porsche is optimistic about the 2004/05 fiscal year. Demand for the two new 911 models launched in July 2004 in Europe is said to be "very high" though no figures were provided.

The new Boxster will go on sale November 27 in Europe and on January 15 in North America. Substantially redesigned, though it looks much the same as its predecessor, and also more powerful, the '05model will cost slightly less in Europe and a liitle more in the US, though standard equipment will be greatly increased for North America.

Demand for the Cayenne model line is expected to increase as a result of an 'individualisation' programme also launched at the Paris show. Beginning in December, the Cayenne Turbo will be available with power output boosted to 368 kW (500 hp). Other features include a new panorama roof system - available on all Cayennes - with an opening area four times larger than that of the regular sliding roof and a choice of many different roof positions. A rear view camera is also available.

Porsche said the enhanced appeal of its products should ensure further growth in the current fiscal year.