When Porsche offered its first vehicles with Diesel engines, the Nazis were in power. Dictator Adolf Hitler himself suggested the production of a ‘Volks-Traktor’, meaning an affordable tractor for small and mid-sized farms. As a result, the German Labor Front instructed Porsche to do so.
It happened. Because of the war, only prototypes of different models with one, two, three and four cylinders were produced, at first. After the war, Hitler’s idea was implemented. The production of these Porsche Diesel tractors ended in the 1960-s.
From that moment onward, Porsche was perceived as an exclusive manufacturer of sports cars, since that is what the company had indeed become. From 1948 to 1965, the Porsche 356 with its legendary design was built. At first, Porsches basically were Volkswagens with a sporty body shell. But that would soon change.
In 1964, the 911 followed. It quickly became the incarnation of the sports car, and still is today. Apart from the 911, which has been built in many generations, the 914, 924, 944, 928 and other models were offered. But none of them ever replaced the 911 as the main Porsche, and the measure of all things.
In the 1970-s, 80-s, 90-s and in the early years of the new millennium, anyone who would have predicted that Porsche would offer its Cayenne and Panamera models with Diesel engines would probably have been sent to a madhouse. Porsche and Diesel was about as compatible as wild geese and shoe polish.
But in 2009, it happened anyway. This time, Porsche did not build Diesel engines itself, but got them next door, from a convenient store called Volkswagen. To Porsche purists this step was a sacrilege. On the other hand it made a lot of sense to offer the Cayenne, Porsche’s first SUV, with a Diesel engine, at that moment.
The Dieselgate scandal triggered by Volkswagen and other manufacturers of more conventional cars, got Porsche into trouble as well, especially in the United States of America. When that mess hit the fan, Porsche announced an end its Diesel sales in North America in 2015.
Then, in February of 2018, the company decided to get out of the Diesel production elsewhere as well. That decision is now being implemented. The Porsche Diesel is dead, thanks to the scandal, which rocked the German auto industry, and still is.
The issue was not just Dieselgate itself. But, because of the scandal, Diesel models recently lost their value a lot faster than before. Porsche’s reputation took a hit. Therefore, the issue had to be resolved once and for all. Au revoir, Porsche Diesel.
“In future, there won’t be any Porsche Diesel”, the company’s chairman Oliver Blume told the German-language publication ‘Bild am Sonntag’ for today’s edition. He conceded the Diesel crisis had caused a lot of trouble.
Blume told the weekly, Porsche would now “concentrate on things we are very good at”, which was building “emotional, high-output combustion engine models” along with hybrids, which combine combustion and electric engines. From 2019, Porsche intends to fight Tesla, the American pioneer of high-value and powerful electric cars with big ranges. Yes, the first pure electric Porsches are only a year away.
Porsche vehicles are about beauty, timeless design, performance and sound. In order to improve the latter, or make it more sporty, the company’s Diesel models had a so-called ’emotionalizing feature’, which made the engine sound deeper and more powerful. But the program would automatically switch off while the vehicles were connected to test stations, in order to decrease the emissions at that moment, according to ‘Bild am Sonntag’.
This morning, no Diesel vehicles were offered on Porsche’s website anymore. An attempt to virtually put together a Diesel model failed. The Diesel propulsion option is already gone. Porsche is the first German car maker to take this step.