DETROIT -- German sports car and luxury SUV maker Porsche AG is studying whether to offer a hybrid gas-electric model, possibly a version of its Cayenne sport utility vehicle, the head of Porsche's North American unit said. Peter Schwarzenbauer, president of Porsche North America, said a team has been studying whether the auto maker should develop a hybrid model since earlier this year. "It looks like this is probably a trend for the future," Mr. Schwarzenbauer said in Detroit on Tuesday. "We are seriously looking at this technology" for the North American market. Japanese auto makers Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) and Honda Motor Co. (HMC) are pursuing aggressive plans to expand sales of gas-electric hybrids in North America. Earlier this week, General Motors Corp. (GM) and DaimlerChrysler AG ( DCX) announced an alliance to develop hybrid technology. Toyota and the GM- DaimlerChrysler alliance are looking for other auto makers to buy or license their competing technologies. Separately, Mr. Schwarzenbauer said Porsche is on track for record sales in the North American market in 2004, surpassing 2003 sales by about 10%. Sales for 2004 should exceed the company's previous annual sales record in North America, set in 1986, of 30,471 cars, reaching about 32,500 vehicles sold. If the economy stays on track and "the world doesn't go crazy" Porsche should surpass 2004 sales in 2005, he said. Porsche continues to study whether to offer a fourth model beyond its Boxster roadster, 911 series sports cars and Cayenne SUV. The company's deliberations are "30% if, and 70% what," Mr. Schwarzenbauer said. He said a decision should come sometime in mid-2005.