Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

Sports car maker Porsche said Sunday it would become the first German auto giant to abandon the diesel engine, reacting to parent company Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal and urban driving bans.

“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” CEO Oliver Blume told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Instead, the luxury sports car brand would concentrate on what he called its core strength, “powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles”.

The Porsche chief conceded the step was a result of the three-year-old “dieselgate” scandal at auto giant Volkswagen.

VW in 2015 admitted to US regulators to having installed so-called “defeat devices” in 11 million cars worldwide to dupe emissions tests and obscure its much higher emissions on the road.

It has so far paid out more than 27 billion euros in fines, vehicle buybacks, recalls and legal costs and remains mired in legal woes at home and abroad.

Diesel car sales have dropped sharply as several German cities have banned them to bring down air pollution — a trend that Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to discuss with car company chiefs in Berlin later Sunday.

“The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” Blume said, months after Germany’s Federal Transport Authority ordered the recall of nearly 60,000 Porsche SUVs in Europe.

City driving bans

Stuttgart-based Porsche in February stopped taking orders for diesel models, which it had sold for nearly a decade.

Blume said Porsche had “never developed and produced diesel engines”, having used Audi motors, yet the image of the brand had suffered.

He promised that the company would keep servicing diesel models on the road now.

Blume also defended diesel as a viable technology, which the broader VW group plans to keep using.

“I think modern diesel engines are highly attractive and environmentally friendly,” he said. “They will continue to be of great importance to the auto industry in the future.”

However, he added, “for us as a sports car manufacturer, where the diesel has traditionally played a subordinate role, we believe that we can do without diesel in the future.”

According to the paper, Porsche also faces new claims of having manipulated engines to produce a more powerful sound with a technique that was deactivated during testing.

Published in Daily Times, September 24th 2018.