Porsche's push to join the coupés

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Porsche is to enter the market for high-speed coupés, taking on the Mercedes CL and the Jaguar XKR.

Their car will be built alongside Porsche's new off-road vehicle, the Cayenne, in its new factory in Leipzig, using the Cayenne's 8-cylinder engine, to hit the roads in three years. Sources close to Porsche indicated the coupé is aimed at Mercedes, Jaguar or BMW drivers who want more space.

The high-speed model, in the Porsche range that includes the 911 and Boxster, is to be launched in 2004-2005 and demonstrates the scale of Porsche's recovery under chairman Wendelin Wiedeking.

Porsche now produces 50,000 cars a year and expects to move 75,000 shortly, thanks to the Cayenne, on sale from September.

With a 13 per cent margin on sales, Porsche claims to be the world's most profitable car-maker. Last year's profits of €592m (£400m) were a record.

Ten years ago, family-owned Porsche looked certain to be sold. In 1992, it recorded a €124m loss.