Porsche says it remains confident about future trading despite seeing a fall in sales of its Cayenne SUV, the company's top-selling model.

Sales of the Cayenne, Porsche's top selling model, were 16% lower in the four months to the end of November than in the same period of 2004.

Demand for the Cayenne was strong last year, with sales increasing nearly 5% to more than 41,880 units.

However, analysts say that the market for large SUVs is softening in North America and Europe in the face of higher energy prices.

US sales of the Cayenne in the first eleven months of the year were around 12,200 units, some 25% down on the same period of last year. In the first ten months of the year, west European sales of the model were off 3.5% on year-ago's pace at 14,000 units.

Porsche says it is confident as far as the outlook for the remainder of fiscal year 2005-6 is concerned, but has warned that high product development costs on its new four-door saloon and a hybrid Cayenne will dent profits.

"Irrespective of economic uncertainty, Porsche is confident as far as the outlook for the remainder of fiscal year 2005-6 is concerned," the company said in a statement.

"On the basis of the further-enhanced breadth and attractiveness of its product range, and also of the progressive development of new markets - particularly in Asia - the company is again anticipating growth during the current fiscal year."

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