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CHICAGO – The Porsche Cayman fixed-hardtop coupe is eating into sales of the venerable Porsche Boxster roadster, a Porsche Cars North America spokesman admits.

“Boxster is doing ok, but I think Cayman has actually affected it a little bit,” the spokesman tells Ward’s here at the Chicago auto show.

“Boxster is very popular. But a lot of people, depending on where they live, don’t necessarily need a roadster, so the Cayman really cut into Boxster sales.”

To address flagging Boxster demand, Porsche says changes are on the horizon within the next two years.

Both the Boxster and the Cayman experienced significant declines in January, Ward’s data shows. Boxster sales plunged 53.5% to 174 units and Cayman deliveries fell 54.6% to 484 vs. year-ago.

The Cayman is bucking a trend among Porsche vehicles, with the high-performance S edition outselling the lower-priced base version, the spokesman says, noting the base variants of all other Porsche models are stronger sellers.

For 2007, Porsche anticipates sales of 12,000 units each for the Cayenne cross/utility vehicle and 911 and Cayman sports cars.

“Ideally, you want each of them to represent a third of U.S. sales, and we’re fairly close to that,” the spokesman says.

He also says plans are on track for the 4-door Panamera sedan, slated to arrive in 2009. Porsche anticipates global sales of 20,000 to 25,000 units annually for the vehicle, with the U.S. getting approximately 40% of that total.

Meanwhile, a hybrid-electric version of the Cayenne will bow by the end of the decade, the spokesman says.

bpope@wardsauto.com