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Porsche sales unaffected by ditching diesel
Better petrol engines, plug-in hybrids help post-diesel Porsche maintain sales in Oz
13 Dec 2019
DROPPING diesel engines from the Porsche line-up has had a lower than expected impact on sales in Australia due to the presence of plug-in hybrids, improved petrol engines and a broader consumer trend away from the fuel in passenger cars.
The announcement in September last year by Porsche Cars CEO Oliver Blume that the company “would like our future to be diesel-free” came at a time when Porsche Cars Australia (PCA) was renewing its top-selling Cayenne and Macan SUV line-up, so the excitement of fresh metal helped also helped absorb the impact of disappointed diesel die-hards.
On the back of a 12.8 per cent sales slump in 2018 largely caused by stock of the Cayenne and Macan drying up ahead of their respective new model changeovers, PCA is up 6.3 per cent year-to-date with the Cayenne 32.3 per cent ahead on 1248 units and the Macan growing 3.9 per cent with 1883 reported deliveries.
Speaking with GoAuto at the Cayenne Coupe launch in Canberra this week, PCA head of public relations Chris Jordan said the company has “been able to keep a lot of Cayenne diesel owners with either E-Hybrid, a (base) Cayenne or the Cayenne S”.
Mr Blume’s announcement came just three months after the third-generation Cayenne large SUV was launched here without a diesel option – although one was promised at the time – and in February this year a facelifted Macan mid-size SUV arrived exclusively powered by four and six-cylinder petrol engines.
“Macan sales are up on the new-gen car with no diesel and diesel was never a huge part of Macan,” said Mr Jordan.
PCA head of product Ingo Appel added that the model changeover of Macan and Cayenne had resulted in the introduction of “more attractive petrol engines”.
“Were able to convert potential diesel buyers into a petrol engine,” he said. “It has been less of an impact (than anticipated).”
Both Mr Jordan and Mr Appel agreed that timing had also played a part, given the broader consumer trend away from diesel in passenger cars and SUVs.
Mr Jordan said sales of the Panamera limousine – down 54.4 per cent YTD, with just 47 delivered – were unaffected by a lack of diesel and that there had been a “clear” replacement of diesel with plug-in hybrids among Panamera customers.
As reported, diesel-powered variants accounted for less than 20 per cent of Porsche sales in Australia, compared with 12 per cent globally.
Diesel was officially dropped from the Macan and Panamera in February 2018.
When the updated Macan launched in February, Mr Jordan said the S Diesel variant that served as entry point of the pre-facelift range until the four-cylinder petrol arrived in late 2016, had been third most-popular of the five offered.
The previous-generation Cayenne had two diesel options, the base variant and mid-spec S Diesel, while the current model has two plug-in hybrids including the flagship 500kW/900Nm Turbo S E-Hybrid.
Porsche first introduced a V6 diesel engine to its Australian Cayenne range in 2009, followed by a diesel Panamera in 2011 and Macan in 2014.
In May this year, the company was fined €535 million ($A854m) by German authorities for its role in Volkswagen Group’s dieselgate emissions cheating scandal.
VW had already been penalised to the tune of €1 billion ($A1.61b) penalty, with Audi – which supplied Porsche with the offending engines – slugged €800m ($A1.3b).
As reported, the second-generation Macan due to debut in 2021 will join the Taycan four-door coupe as a pure-electric Porsche model.
The Taycan will launch here in the fourth quarter of 2020.
However, the current-generation Cayenne platform is not deemed suitable for full electrification.
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