With several diesel scandals in Europe unexpectedly warming up (and settling into a coarse idle), Porsche, part of the greater Volkswagen empire, is trying to distance itself as much as possible from anything that smells like diesel. Along with SEAT and Skoda, Porsche has managed to avoid the dark cloud currently hanging over diesels in Europe — Bentley even felt emboldened to launch a diesel Bentayga this year — even though it was never a mass user of VW’s diesel engine stockpile.
The initial outbreak of emissions-cheating allegations by the EPA in the U.S. prompted Porsche to stop selling the Cayenne Diesel for a time, but the diesel versions of the Panamera and the Macan did not draw regulatory ire in Europe and other markets where they were offered.
Now Porsche is signaling the latest generation of diesel engines could be its last, Reuters reports. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume indicated that the diesel crisis, which has prompted significant recall plans by Mercedes-Benz in Europe just this week, has started to cast a shadow over Porsche’s use of diesel powerplants. Industry analysts are interpreting Blume’s statements as an indication Porsche may not use them in any new models, letting the current stable of engines run their course through the end of current vehicles’ product cycles.
Blume indicated a firm decision will be made by the end of the decade as a part of a greater engine strategy.
“Of course we are looking into this issue,” Blume told Reuters. “We have not made a decision on it.”
Blume’s comments do not appear to have been prompted by German authorities’ recent probe into Porsche’s possible role in the creation of defeat devices at Volkswagen. The probe, launched in late June of this year, signaled an expansion of the ongoing investigation that unexpectedly shifted to Audi earlier in the year and has led to wide-ranging police raids of Audi facilities. The inclusion of Porsche in the Munich prosecutors’ investigation was foreseeable if still surprising in its timing; a number of Porsche models have shared 3.0-liter diesel engines with several Audi and VW models sold in several global markets.
But Porsche might already have one foot out the door when it comes to diesels, with the debut of several hybrids and the upcoming pure-electric Mission-E sedan, due on sale in 2019. It is also worth noting that without the ready availability of diesels from other VW brands Porsche probably would not go through the trouble of developing one itself, tying them to VW AG’s course.
When it comes to diesel models, Porsche has more at stake overseas than in North America, as its sales have not depended on diesels in the same way as Volkswagen’s sales did, and it will have an easier time discontinuing diesel variants than its corporate parent.