Porsche ditching diesel for 'powerful petrol, hybrid and EVs'
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Porsche is to abandon the diesel engine and instead concentrate on making 'powerful petrol, hybrid and purely electric vehicles'.
The move by the German car maker, which offered diesel options only in its family-focused Cayenne, Panamera and Macan models, follows a collapse in demand since 2015 when parent company Volkswagen was caught installing so-called 'defeat devices' to dupe emissions tests.
Bosses at the manufacturer downplayed the decision, claiming the under-fire fuel type has never been pivotal for the brand and only accounts for a small percentage of sales.
Oliver Blume, Porsche chief executive, said in a statement on Sunday: 'Porsche is not demonising diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology.
'We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free.'
He later added that Porsche's existing diesel customers would continue to be served by the dealer network.
Porsche is taking on Tesla's Model S high performance luxury car with the Taycan, expected to reach the market in late 2019. Photo / AP
Porsche, which is investing more than $10.6 billion in electric mobility by 2022, said demand for diesel models was on the decline, with just 12 per cent of models sold last year ordered with an oil burner engine.
And in a later interview with German paper Bild am Sonntag, Blume added that the aftermath of dieselgate has had a damaging impact on the brand.
'We have never developed and produced diesel engines ourselves,' he said.
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'Still, Porsche's image has suffered. The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble.'
The German firm, which is synonymous with sports cars like the iconic 911 and Boxster, has only been offering diesel engines for the last nine years.
VW Group diesel motors were incorporated into the line-up when Porsche's range of SUVs - including the Cayenne and Macan - grew in popularity and customers demanded more fuel efficient engines for these hefty 4x4s.
However, it has barely sold any this year, having removed diesel-powered new models from its showrooms in February.
This includes the Macan S Diesel and Panamera S Diesel - both of which were only released four months before they were pulled from dealerships.
According to reports, the diesel Macan was stricken from the range because a new software update was required in order for the car to conform with new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure standards that needed to be adhered to by any new model sold from 1 September 2018.
It claimed that the diesel variant only made up a fraction of the model's 97,000 global sales last year.
The Panamera 4S Diesel has also been stripped from order forms for the same reason, with diesel examples making up only 15 per cent of all models sold in 2017 - of which 50 per cent were the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.
Porsche also confirmed last August that it would not be selling a diesel variant of the new-for-2018 third-generation Cayenne.
Like almost every other mass-producing car maker, Porsche is instead ramping up its electrification efforts, which will be spearheaded by the launch of the new pure-electric Taycan - formerly known as the Mission E - supercar due in 2019.
There is also talk of a hybrid next-generation 911 in the pipeline.Explaining the decision to move away from diesel, a statement from the car maker in February said: 'Diesel engines traditionally play a subordinate role at Porsche.
'Porsche does not develop or build diesel engines itself.
'Currently, the demand for diesel models is falling, whereas interest in hybrid and petrol models is increasing significantly.'
Government backlash against diesel has been rife since Porsche's parent group - VW - was found to have fitted some of its vehicles with emissions cheating devices.
Several German cities have since banned the fuel type in a bid to improve air pollution conditions for the public.
New figures released this week showed that diesel cars made up just 35 per cent of registrations in Europe last month, down from 42 per cent in August 2017