VW's Porsche expects to repeat record vehicle sales this year

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen's VOWG_p.DE Porsche brand does not need a stock market listing to fund growth, Chief Executive Oliver Blume said, adding he is confident the maker of the iconic 911 sportscar can repeat last year's record sales in 2018.

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Porsche sold 196,562 vehicles during the first nine months of the year, with Europe showing a 9 percent increase and China, the world’s largest car market, growing by 4 percent.

“In the light of these good numbers we expect that we can reach last year’s record again,” Blume said in e-mailed comments on Thursday.

Porsche delivered 246,375 vehicles in 2017.

Blume reiterated there are no plans to list Porsche AG on the stock market. To free up resources for new investments in electric cars for example, Porsche is opting for partnerships and leaner production and development processes.

“We develop many things digitally. The Panamera Sport Turismo was launched without building physical prototype vehicles,” Blume said.

Porsche is also pooling resources with its sister brand Audi NSUG.DE to develop a premium electric car platform. The cooperation is still going strong, despite the stepping down of Audi's technical development chief Peter Mertens for health reasons last month.

“We are working with Audi more intensively than ever, the resignation of Mr. Mertens has not changed this,” Blume said.

Porsche can cut its development costs by 30 percent by pooling resources with Audi on vehicle architectures, modules and components, he said.

"A good example of such synergies is our cooperation in the area of battery cells for our electric cars. Both of us, Porsche and Audi, source them from LG Chem 051910.KS, which has built up a plant for this in Poland."

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Alexandra Hudson