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by Tim Beissmann

Porsche looks set to delay the launch of its entry-level sports car as the company’s CEO fears it could dilute the brand’s image.

Porsche boss Matthias Mueller told German business newspaper Wirtschaftswoche his brand “probably [needed to] wait until the next generation of customers before the idea of a small roadster will work for Porsche”.

Production of the smaller sports car – dubbed the ‘baby Boxster’ by the industry – was plunged into further doubt last week when Volkswagen’s research and development chief admitted the group does not believe it can achieve baseline sales volumes with the joint-developed VW BlueSport, baby Boxster and the Audi ‘R4’.

Almost 12 months ago, Mueller said the German sports car manufacturer could introduce a spiritual successor to the Porsche 550 by 2014, although it now seems the compact convertible may not reach showrooms until later this decade at the earliest.

In the short term, Porsche is focusing its efforts on higher volume models like the Cajun compact SUV, which goes on sale in 2013. Mueller told Automotive News he expects Porsche to sell 50,000 Cajuns per year.

In 2011, Porsche sold a total of 118,867 vehicles, including 1343 in Australia. The only SUV currently in the line-up, the Cayenne, accounted for 60 per cent of local sales.