German luxury car maker Porsche, in which Qatar holds a ten percent stake, increased global sales by 29 percent to 30,231 vehicles during the first quarter of 2012, helping operating profits to increase 18.4 percent to nearly US$700m, it was announced on Sunday. Revenue was up 32.4 per cent to EUR3.025bn (US$3.95bn), compared to the first quarter of 2011. Operating profit reached EUR528m (US$690m) during the same period, a year-on-year rise of 18.4 percent. During the first three months of the year, the luxury sports car manufacturer hired 725 new employees, raising its total workforce by 4.7 percent to 16,032 employees. “Behind these extremely gratifying figures is a clearly defined line: we focus systematically on solid, sustainable and high-quality growth,” Matthias Müller, president and CEO of Porsche, said in a statement. “The youngest and most efficient model range of all times gives us an outstanding platform on which to sustain this course throughout 2012,” Müller said. Sales of the new 911 model, launched in December 2012, increased by 37.6 percent in its first full quarter and the manufacturer said it will be bringing nine new Porsche models to market this year. The strong growth was attributed to increased demand in China, the German domestic market and the US. Between January and March 2012, Porsche produced a total of 36,067 vehicles. This represents an increase of 15 percent year-on-year and the Leipzig plant, where the Cayenne and Panamera are produced, currently produces around 450 units per day thanks to the introduction of a third shift in January 2012. Middle East sales of Porsche’s popular Cayenne model surged 42 percent in 2011. Overall sales were up 18.7 percent between January and November 2011, with the German car maker shipping 6,842 vehicles to the MENA region over the period.