Porsche unveiled the car at the Shanghai auto show in April, the first time it debuted a new model outside of Europe or North America.
The country was Porsche’s third-biggest market last year, up from about 15th in 2006.
Porsche plans to add more dealers in China and shift its local office to Shanghai, the country’s financial capital, to help boost sales.
Audi AG, Jaguar Land Rover and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz are also aiming to offset tumbling demand in Europe and the U.S. by selling more cars in China, home to 825,000 people worth 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) or more.
“China is the hope for luxury carmakers like Porsche,” said Han Weiqi, an analyst with CSC Securities HK Ltd. in Shanghai.
“Even during the current financial crisis, China’s rich are obviously less affected than those in U.S. and Europe.”
Porsche expects about a third of its forecast 20,000 Panamera sales a year to come from China and the rest of Asia.
The car is expected to be priced starting at more than $270,000 in China when it goes on sale in late 2009.
Porsche sold less than 400 units in 2004, three years after its entry to the Chinese market.
But the sales of Porsche vehicles have seen rapid growth in the past few years, increasing from 386 units in 2004 to 2,305 units in 2006, more than 4,000 units in 2007, and over 7,600 units in 2008.