* CEO rules out “major leaps” in future profit
* Porsche spends 1 bln eur at core plant on electric model
* CEO eyes U.S. feedback on diesel engine fix “in next weeks”
STUTTGART, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Porsche is bracing for smaller profit gains in future as Volkswagen’s sports-car division steps up spending on models and facilities, Chief Executive Oliver Blume said.
The maker of the iconic 911 sports car will invest about 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) as it creates over 1,000 new jobs at its base in Zuffenhausen to make Porsche’s first all-electric car.
Stuttgart-based Porsche now has “many new products in the pipeline” to set the course for future growth, Blume told a gathering of reporters late on Monday.
“Therefore it’s clear that we can no longer carry out major leaps on results,” the CEO said.
Still, Porsche, the second-biggest contributor to Volkswagen (VW) group profit, probably increased underlying earnings last year as sales of its sports cars and sport-utility vehicles (SUV) exceeded 200,000 units for the first time, powered by the new Macan compact SUV.
“Porsche has delivered a great result,” Blume said with regard to the carmaker’s 2015 annual earnings, due to be published on March 11.
A year earlier, the manufacturer’s operating profit rose 16 percent to 2.72 billion euros, fuelled by a 20 percent gain in sales to a record 187,000 cars on demand from the United States and China.
Separately, the CEO said Porsche was hoping to regain the services of its suspended R&D chief Wolfgang Hatz, who sources said was placed on leave by VW’s supervisory board last year together with other top engineers in the wake of the emissions test-rigging scandal.
Porsche expects feedback from U.S. regulators “in the next weeks” on proposals to bring about 13,000 Cayenne SUVs capable of cheating emissions tests in line with the law, Blume said.
At the Detroit auto show in January, the CEO said Porsche had submitted proposals which sought to replace catalytic converters and run software updates for 2013 and 2014 model years and to run software updates for 2015 and 2016 model years.
$1 = 0.8923 euros Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Stephen Coates