Diesel within Porsche-dom isn’t dead, it’s just resting, according to the parent.
DETERMINATION by Porsche to stop building diesel-powered product at the moment will not mean that the brand is getting out of the business forever, the local distributor believes.
However, while Porsche New Zealand has pointed to a release from brand headquarters that suggests the engine type will return in time with the latest, presently petrol-only Cayenne, the prospect of it featuring in the smaller Macan seems bleak at best.
In respect to the compact crossover, a sister ship to the Audi Q5 – which does provision in petrol and diesel form – brand general manager Greg Clarke offered that petrol preference has grown with customers, a big spur being the launch last year of a four-cylinder.
That’s the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivering 185kW and 370Nm between 1600 and 4500rpm, matched with the seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission that drives all four wheels. The same unit powers Audi’s A4 2.0 TFSI Quattro Sport.
“Currently five out of the six variants we offer are powered by petrol engines,” he said today.
However, has acknowledged that the 3.0-litre diesel V6 has been important for the brand’s soft-road product.
“Our diesel SUV models have been, currently are, and I expect them to remain extremely popular in New Zealand.”
Clarke did not offer respond to questions about how many diesel Macans remain in stock, how many more it might be able to source and whether he thought sales would be hurt when the supply ceased.
Porsche’s abdication from diesel in the here and now was announced this week by the parent company and is thought to be as result of its displeasure about being caught up in Volkswagen’s Dieselgate affair.
Last year, it sued Audi for 200 million Euros in damages over costs related to manipulated engines, in particular the 3.0-litre.
Porsche even self-reported irregularities in the Cayenne V6 diesel engine’s software to German authorities after discovering the problems in internal testing.
The statement from the company about its ultimate intentions for diesel is curious.
While denying thought that the engine type is completely buried, it also says diesel sales are falling and that it will concentrate on petrol, hybrid and full-electric powertrains in future.
“Diesel engines traditionally play a subordinate role at Porsche,” the parent company said. “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.”
Porsche also said that “ongoing consultation with the authorities in relation to another software update” had also played a part in the decision to axe the Macan diesel.
In this case, “the authorities” are Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), with whom Porsche has been discussing further adjustments to diesel software to meet new standards.
Porsche introduced diesel here nine years ago via the Cayenne, starting with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel from the Audi Q7. Diesel editions of the previous generation Cayenne offered with two choices; a 193kW 3.0-litre V6 and 283kW 4.2-litre twin-turbo V8. Macan also had the 190kW 3.0-litre V6 diesel.
Porsche Germany says diesel makes up just 15 percent of sales, with the E-Hybrid now dominating with 50 percent, however in New Zealand the diesel preference has historically been much higher.