Diesel is departing, but Porsche will pick up with electrics, a local representative says.
LOSING an engine type that has been a core choice for the two models that cumulatively account for 70 percent of Porsche sales in New Zealand will not blunten the brand’s presence, a local high-up contends.
Jamie Taylor, sales and marketing manager for the national distributor, part of the Giltrap Group, says while his brand will look back fondly on the diesel period, it is also confident “better technologies” en route will more than make up for losing compression ignition engines, a reference to the head office’s multi-billion dollar commitment to sharpen focus on hybrid and battery-powered vehicles.
“Diesel has been important for most manufacturers for a period, but with other technologies becoming available it is becoming less important moving forward,” he says.
“Porsche’s decision has been made at a global level and they see that as the best way of going forward. We don’t completely disagree even though we have had a number of diesels.”
The brand’s announcement to entirely drop diesel engines, supplied by Audi, after offering them for 10 years is not unsurprising Volkswagen’s admission to having admitted to deliberately cheating diesel emissions tests has hurt all its satellite brands.
The announcement made at the weekend does not bring immediate impact to this market, as the sole diesel variant current only sale, a Macan, will continue on sale until the second-generation of that compact crossover arrives here early next year.
For now Porsche has only announcement petrol engines for the new model, however it seems probable that it might join the larger Cayenne in adopting at least one plug-in hybrid petrol as well.
The PHEV Cayenne, meantime, is ultimately availing in two formats to support the pure petrol version that launched several months ago.
Porsche had never discussed a diesel for the latest generation of its biggest sports utility – a surprise for local fans given that the diesel variants were especially strong sellers in the previous generations of this car
Even though the petrol and PHEV models are different, each provides pluses that Taylor believes most, if not all, past Cayenne diesel owners will find compelling.
He points out that the petrol-electric has the same 3.5-tonne capability as the alternate drivetrains while the new-generation petrol engines – if not quite diesel-equalling for thrift – are nonetheless delivering much improved economy compared to forebear powertrains.
“Towing matches the other vehicles in the range and, with the new technology and the way turbochargers are being used now, the petrol engines are far more efficient without losing any of that Porsche performance.
“We anticipated a shift toward petrol even before the announcement.”
Whether losing diesel will affect volume this year and next is not a subject Porsche NZ wants to discuss in depth, but a small dip would seem unavoidable.
While the brand says global demand for its diesels was dropping – to the point where they accounted for just 12 percent of overall volume in 2017 – New Zealand’s appetite has been especially healthy. Certainly, Cayenne and Macan together claim around 70 percent of Porsche volume and the Macan diesel has been a particular favourite.
“Talk to our sales people and many customers are they will suggest it is one of the best vehicles in our range, because of the NZ appetite for this kind of engine and vehicle. It has been very popular.”
However, nothing can be done of course. Taylor assures current diesel models will continue to be fully supported at service and parts level.
“We will continue to support them as we would any other Porsche.”
He also notes that so much changes anyway from 2020, when the brand’s first all-electric car, the Taycan, lands with more to follow “and that will alter the way our range presents going into the future.”
By then, too, the car on which the brand was founded – the eponymous 911 – will also be driven by part-electric powertrains.