An artist's impression of the Panamera
Porsche has acquired about one-fifth of Volkswagen, which already supplies the body-shell for the best-selling Cayenne sports utility vehicle. Volkswagen uses the same body-shells to make its Touareg, accounting for the similarity in appearance of the two SUVs.
According to a report by the dpa-AFX news agency, Volkswagen's main Wolfsburg plant would stamp out and weld together Panamera shells in steel, paint them and ship them to Porsche's assembly plant in the eastern German city of Leipzig when production starts
The Panamera, a rakish small sedan, is to be Porsche's fourth odel range after the Cayenne, the traditional rear-engined 911 sports car family and the lower-performance, lower-priced, mid-engined Boxster roadsters.
The sources said the cooperation deal would offer Volkswagen an opportunity to make a major part of a Panamera's value and sharply reduce the development costs of $1.2bn foreseen for the new model.
Porsche declined to comment on the report, saying it would not be releasing the binding production concept for the new model till next spring.
So far only sketches of the model have been shown.
The sources said however that a deal had effectively already been achieved.
An Austrian components supplier and assembler, Magna Steyr, had also vainly offered to make the Panamera body shell.
Porsche's acquisition of Volkswagen stock has been seen as a first move to create a kind of German Car Inc. Although Porsche's sales are far less than Volkswagen's, it is financially far healthier.
Dieter Zetsche, set to take over January 1 as chief executive of DaimlerChrysler, has denied again that his group is planning a cross-shareholding with Volkswagen, saying they were only cooperating project by project.
"We are not seeking an equity stake," he said in an interview published by the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Friday.
Current joint projects included commercial vans and diesel engines. The German-American company was also studying an offer of a minivan based on Chrysler and Dodge models to help Volkswagen fill a gap on the North American market.
He said Volkswagen had invited DaimlerChrysler several times in recent years to take a VW stake as a white knight in order to prevent a hostile takeover.
But the two had never got to the proper negotiating stage, he said.