Porsche AG will stop offering diesel versions of its cars, marking the latest blow for the technology that has come under intense scrutiny by regulators and environmental groups.
Porsche will focus on gasoline, electric and hybrid vehicles because demand for diesel is declining, the Stuttgart, Germany-based manufacturer said in an emailed statement on Sunday.
For the sportscar manufacturer diesel “has traditionally played a subordinated role,” the statement said. “Porsche doesn’t condemn diesel. It is and remains an important powertrain technology.”
Diesel versions of cars like the brand’s Cayenne and Macan sports utility vehicles accounted for 12 percent of global sales last year, according to the statement.
Porsche halted sales of diesel cars in February amid a probe by German authorities into rigged engine-control software across parent Volkswagen AG. The sportscar unit used adopted diesel motors from VW group sister brand Audi that contained potentially illegal functions for pollution controls.
Germany’s motor industry watchdog found a software function in the 8-cylinder Cayenne EU5 model is breaching emission rules, Porsche Chief Executive Officer Oliver Blume told Bild am Sonntag in an interview. This affects 13,500 diesel cars in Europe. Porsche was forced by the regulator in May to recall almost 60,000 Cayenne and Macan diesel cars because of illicit engine functions.
Porsche said its hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular, with about 63 percent of buyers of the four-door Panamera coupe in Europe opting for the partly electric version. The company will introduce the Taycan model next year, the brand’s first fully-electric sportscar based on the Mission E concept vehicle.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer plan to meet top officials of the country’s auto industry in Berlin later on Sunday to discuss how to meet air quality standards in cities. Recent court rulings in Germany stipulating that older diesel cars should be banned from certain areas have caused uncertainty among car buyers.