January 8, 2015 / 11:09 AM / 3 years ago

Porsche expects sales to reach 200,000 cars this year: CEO

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The badge on the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS is shown during the model's world debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California November 19, 2014.Lucy Nicholson

STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - Porsche (VOWG_p.DE) said it expects to increase sales to 200,000 cars or more this year, hitting a long-planned target three years early, after posting record deliveries in 2014.

Sales in December surged 39 percent from a year earlier to 20,644 sports cars and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), boosting full-year deliveries to a record 189,849, Porsche said on Thursday. That marked a 17 percent gain on 2013 levels.

More than two-thirds of Porsche models sold are SUVs, thanks to its new Macan model which hit dealerships last April, sales data showed.

About 34,000 of the 45,000 customers who bought the Macan, which is smaller than the top-selling Cayenne SUV, were new to the Porsche brand and previously owned a model from BMW (BMWG.DE), Mercedes or another rival, Chief Executive Matthias Mueller told reporters at the carmaker's base in Stuttgart, Germany.

Separately, the 61-year-old Mueller, previously top product strategist at parent VW, ruled himself out as a potential successor to VW group CEO Martin Winterkorn.

Winterkorn, 67, stoked speculation about his departure in an interview last October when he noted that when his contract expires in December 2016 he would be 69 and old enough to quit.

"I am not a potential successor to Winterkorn," Mueller said. "I am too old for the job. It is no solution for VW to put a 63-year-old at the helm in 2016," he said, adding he had already communicated the message at VW headquarters.

Porsche, which contributed a fifth of VW group's nine-month operating profit of 9.4 billion euros ($11.06 billion), could see its operating margin drop to 13 percent of sales temporarily, from about 17-18 percent, because of spending on fuel efficiency and connectivity, Mueller said.

The carmaker is targeting an operating margin of at least 15 percent over a five-year period.

($1 = 0.8500 euros)

Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Thomas Atkins and Susan Fenton

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