BERLIN Germany's Porsche expects to sell out of its most expensive model ever by early December, bolstering earnings as the sports car maker grapples with rising capacity and technology costs.
Profits from Porsche are a key part of owner Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) drive to fund its global expansion plans and overtake sales at Japanese rival Toyota (7203.T).
Operating profit at Porsche fell 12 percent in the third quarter to 529 million euros ($658 million) due to the cost of expanding its German plants in Leipzig and Zuffenhausen, as well as spending on fuel-efficient technology.
"We are close to the finish line" in selling all 918 of the 918 Spyder Hybrid model which starts at 768,026 euros, Porsche sales chief Bernhard Maier told Reuters on Monday, citing strong demand from North America.
Only a small double-digit number of the plug-in hybrid model, the price of which can rise up to 947,716 euros in Germany on optional equipment, was still available, Maier said in an interview.
Production of the 918 Spyder, unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt auto show, has been limited to 918 cars to underscore the exclusivity of the vehicle and the brand.
Porsche has forecast it will lift overall sales to more than 200,000 next year from 162,000 in 2013, benefiting from the new Macan compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) released last April.
With its growing push into SUVs, Porsche is hard pressed to lower carbon dioxide emissions across its fleet and is raising spending on hybrid models which combine a combustion engine and electric motor.
The new plug-in hybrid version of the top-selling Cayenne SUV, rolled out last month at the Paris auto show, may over time account for about 10 percent of the model's overall sales, the same as the Panamera plug-in hybrid coupe, Maier said.
"Interest (in hybridisation) is growing steadily," the executive said, indicating that the next generation of Porsche's iconic 911 sports car may also be offered as a plug-in hybrid.
Separately, Porsche said on Monday that October deliveries jumped 18 percent to 15,820 vehicles, lifting 10-month sales by 14 percent to 151,462 cars.
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(Editing by Susan Thomas and Mark Potter)