We thought it was happening, then we thought it wasn’t, and now it looks like it’s happening again. Porsche has officially abandoned diesel. But this time it’s for good, because even though the Stuttgart marque hasn’t produced an oil-burning model since the Macan S Diesel and Panamera 4S Diesel were canned at the start of 2018, CEO Oliver Blume has now confirmed that no further diesel Porsches are planned for the future.
“Porsche is not demonising diesel, it is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology,” he said. “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. Naturally, we will continue to look after our existing diesel customers with the professionalism they expect.”
That’s pretty clear then. Ok, so very few PHers are going to be overwhelmed with grief at such a decision, but we should still consider how significant this change is. Diesel, even in times of such pressure, is still a very popular fuel source and therefore accounts for significant sales volumes.
When Porsche canned the diesel Panamera, for example, it did so at a time when sales for the model still represented 15% of Panamera demand – or about 11,000 cars in 2017. Combine that with the sales performance of the Macan S Diesel and black pump cars accounted for 15% of all of Porsche’s sales in 2017. That equated to a number just shy of 40,000 units.
Given that Porsche has never made its own diesel engines in the 10 years since it started offering them, instead plucking the motors from elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group, it’s never exactly been laden with heavy development costs. So it seems like the decision to abandon diesel may be a little premature. Surely there’s life left in the black pump yet? It turns out that the call has been made as much to align Porsche with its increasingly electrified future as it is to distance itself from the seemingly never-ending Dieselgate scandal. Blume put it frankly: “Porsche's image has suffered. The diesel crisis caused us a lot of trouble”.
The decision means we won’t be getting a diesel Cayenne, despite earlier suggestions we would. Although those wanting a long-distance Porsche with lots of torque can, of course, opt for the E-Hybrid models, which are included in the Cayenne and Panamera ranges and share the same electrified V6 powerplants. Porsche has high expectations for its electrified models; they’re fast becoming its most popular variants in its non sports car line-up. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid accounted for half of Panamera sales in 2017.
Things look quite different on the used market, however, where diesel Porsche models still make up a large portion of available stock. Diesel Cayennes account for 55% of the models listed on the PH Classifieds, while Panamera diesels make up 27% of the mix. As far as road presence is concerned then, we won’t be saying bye to oil-burning Porsches just yet.