Volkswagen's Porsche to stop offering diesel models

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen's <VOWG_p.DE> Porsche will stop offering diesel versions of its cars, the unit said on Sunday, sharpening its focus on hybrid and battery-powered vehicles instead.

Volkswagen has admitted to deliberately cheating diesel emissions tests, sending shockwaves through the automotive industries and causing a sector-wide crackdown on polluting diesel engines.

"Porsche is not demonizing diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology," Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume said in a statement.

"We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free."

Porsche's existing diesel customers would continue to be served, he said.

Porsche, which is investing more than 6 billion euros ($7.1 billion) in electric mobility by 2022, said that demand for diesel models was dropping, adding their share of worldwide Porsche cars was 12 percent in 2017.

"We have never developed and produced diesel engines ourselves. Still, Porsche's image has suffered. The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble," Blume said in a separate interview with weekly Bild am Sonntag.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a meeting on Sunday to discuss whether to require the car industry to carry out costly hardware upgrades for older diesel vehicles to reduce inner-city pollution, government sources said.

Porsche has sold diesel versions of its cars for nearly a decade, Bild am Sonntag said. It has not had a diesel in its line up since February.

About 63 percent of the group's Panamera cars sold in Europe are hybrid models, it said. Porsche will launch the Taycan - which it says is its first fully-electric sports car - next year.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Sandra Maler and Louise Heavens)

09/23/2018 7:20

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