Soon after news the Stuttgart prosecutor's office was eyeing workers at Porsche and a US subsidiary for suspected fraud and false advertising related to diesel emissions, the automaker's CEO said it might eventually axe diesel engines.
Oliver Blume told Reuters Porsche would decide, at the end of this decade, if its latest generation of diesel engines would be its last. That, the news agency noted, was the first time a German carmaker had said in public it could stop fitting diesel engines.
Der Spiegel magazine reported in June Germany's KBA regulatory agency had been asked to eye VW and Porsche vehicle emissions, adding that Porsche's Cayenne V6 TDI SUV had much higher emissions than legally allowed. The company said it did not understand the test results, and noted that emissions depend on conditions such as engine load, speed and temperature.
In the US last month, VW received final approval to recall and repair around 58,000 2013-2016 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 3.0L TDI V6 vehicles ('Generation 2' vehicles) to bring them into compliance with the emissions standards to which they were originally certified, if an appropriate emissions compliant repair was approved by US regulators.
"Of course we are looking into [axing diesels]," Blume told Reuters. "We have not made a decision on it."
He added Porsche would offer a mix of combustion engines, plug-in hybrid vehicles and pure battery-powered cars over the next 10-15 years and would decide at the end of the decade whether diesel had a future there.
A redesigned Cayenne would be launched in September and would still offer a diesel engine, Blume told Reuters. The redone Panamera launched last November also comes as a diesel.
"For the generations that will follow there are different scenarios," Blume told the news agency. One is Porsche quitting diesel completely, Porsche sources told Reuters.
The report said diesels account for about 15% of global Porsche sales and help the automaker reduce CO2 emissions as they are more fuel efficient than petrol engines.
Diesel cars make up 35% of BMW registrations while Audi's account for 65% of deliveries, Reuters added.
Blume told the news agency Porsche and Audi were targeting "significant savings" in development and material costs for electric car programmes by sharing a new platform coded PPE.
The new architecture would allow both brands to save money by sharing components and modules, helping Porsche towards a goal of keeping its return on sales at around 15% a year.
"Further platforms are conceivable, for instance with SUVs," Blume told Reuters.