More stories related to 2005 NAIAS DETROIT – This will be the year of big decisions for Porsche AG.

CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is promising the German sports-car maker in the next few months will determine whether it will offer a gasoline-electric hybrid drive system for its Cayenne cross/utility vehicle. (See related story: Porsche: Hybrid May Be Essential for U.S.)

By mid year, Porsche also will decide whether it will add a long-anticipated fourth model to its lineup, Wiedeking says.

“Our engineers have been looking closely at this alternative technology for a long time,” Wiedeking says of a hybrid vehicle. “In the spring we will take a detailed look at the subject of hybrid drive on the board of management, and we will then decide whether and, if so, in which way and with whom we will take action in this area.”

Cayenne would be basis for Porsche hybrid.

New 911 Carrera convertible.

Wiedeking says the hybrid system “only would make sense in the Cayenne,” because of space and weight restrictions in the 911 and Boxster. Porsche is studying several technology options, but any Porsche hybrid would have to blend in with the rest of the lineup.

“We want to make the best system for us,” he says. “We are in the business of providing sporty cars, so it must have sporty characteristics.

“We won’t make any compromises,” he adds. “Compromise is not our business.”

Porsche will not do a diesel hybrid, Wiedeking says. “I don’t believe in diesels. It’s the wrong way for the environment. I believe in gasoline engines.”

Porsche may look for a partner to do a hybrid, but Wiedeking says the auto maker “would have to have an impact” on engineering the system. “But we don’t have to develop everything ourselves,” he adds.

A partner could be sought out for the fourth model line, as well, says Wiedeking, who promises a decision on the program by midyear.

He says Porsche already has identified what type of vehicle the new model would be, but he declines to reveal that.

The addition of a fourth vehicle line could mean investment in a new plant, but “that’s an open question,” he says. “That would depend on whether we do it with a partner. It is too early to determine.”

Even without the fourth model, “the independence of our company is secure also in the long term,” Wiedeking says here at the North American International Auto Show, where Porsche introduced the 911 Carrera Cabriolet and Carrera S Cabriolet.

The convertible version of the new 911 will start at $79,100 and base at $88,900 for the Carrera S version, about a $10,000 premium above the 911 coupes.