BERLIN Germany's Porsche will probably focus production of the next generation of the four-door Panamera coupe at its plant in Leipzig, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said, in a move that could threaten jobs at parent Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).
VW welds and paints the Panamera's bodies at its factory in Hanover for assembly in Leipzig, where Porsche also makes its best-selling Cayenne sport-utility vehicle. Some 800 of the 14,300 jobs at VW's commercial-vehicle plant in Hanover depend on the Panamera project.
The sports-car maker is pondering plans to fully base production of the Panamera's second generation at the eastern German facility, the two sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential.
The model is expected to come to market around 2016.
A spokesman for VW in Hanover declined to comment. Porsche said no decision had been taken on where the Panamera is made.
Stuttgart-based Porsche has spent about 500 million euros ($680 million) in Leipzig on a new body and paint shop to prepare the plant for production of its new model, the Macan compact SUV, due to go on sale in the spring of 2014.
The Leipzig factory produced 27,056 Panamera coupes last year.
($1 = 0.7358 euros)
(Corrects production number in final paragraph, drops extraneous word in fourth paragraph and clarifies company stance on future Panamera production in fifth paragraph)
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; editing by David Holmes and Tom Pfeiffer)