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Porsche remains committed to diesel

The Cayenne SUV was the first Porsche to run on diesel

Porsche sales chief, Detley von Platen denies reports that the automaker plans to abandon the technology.

Porsche expects to launch a diesel version of the new-generation Cayenne SUV this year and may offer the powertrain in the smaller Macan crossover as well.

“We’re not saying that we are exiting [diesel],” Porsche sales chief Detlev von Platen told Automotive News. “Presently, the planning process foresees one for the Cayenne and probably for the Macan, too. For the SUV models, it [diesel] makes sense where customers want range and torque.”

Porsche debuted the new Cayenne at last year’s Frankfurt auto show. The Macan is due for a face-lift this year as it starts the second half of its product life cycle. The next-generation Macan, most likely due in 2021, is widely expected to be offered with a full-electric variant.

Porsche recently doubled its five-year electromobility spending to 6 billion euros amid increasing government pressure on automakers to reduce emissions.

When asked when the Cayenne diesel might reach European markets, Von Platen replied: “Likely in the course of this year.”

Recently there were media reports that Porsche had decided to stop output of its diesels, Von Platen downplayed the powertrain’s importance to the brand, which neither builds nor develops diesel. It sources the ones it uses from Volkswagen Group sister brand Audi.

“It was never extremely relevant. Only about 14 percent of the 246,000 cars we sell worldwide are a diesel,” said Von Platen, who sees greater potential for Porsche’s electrified range.

“We see big demand for our plug-in hybrids, especially with the latest generation, now that its electric range was extended to 50 kilometres [up from 36km]. That plays a big role.”

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Fiat Chrysler to ditch diesel

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to end production of all its diesel-powered models amid a collapse in demand and increasing costs in the latest blow to the scandal-tainted fuel. 

Under a four-year plan to be unveiled on June 1st, the Italian-American carmaker will say it intends to phase out the fuel type from the cars across its brands.

The company owns the Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Fiat marques.

FCA becomes the latest carmaker to ditch the fuel publicly, after Toyota said last year it would probably not launch another model with a diesel engine, while Porsche, which is owned by Volkswagen, last week announced it would drop the technology from its range.

FCA has decided to pull diesel from all of its passenger cars but is expected to keep diesel options for its commercial vehicles, including a range of its pick-up trucks in the US, such as the popular Ram 1500.

FCA was the only big carmaker in Europe last year to see its share of diesel sales rise, in part because of its exposure to the Italian market, where demand for the fuel is still strong. In total, 40.6 per cent of cars sold by FCA in Europe were diesel, according to data from Jato Dynamics, up slightly from 40.4 per cent a year earlier.

More than half of FCA’s European sales were in Italy. “This is because the Italian government has not taken a clear anti-diesel position and because Italy has the third most expensive gasoline in Europe,” said Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at Jato Dynamics. 

Europe’s anti-diesel stance

Once the main fuel source in Europe, diesel has seen its share of the market fall following the VW emissions scandal, rising political opposition to the fuel type and plans by several cities to ban it altogether.

For years governments and carmakers promoted diesel as a way of lowering carbon-dioxide emissions compared with those from petrol. However, it was revealed in 2015 that Volkswagen fitted 11 million cars with software designed to deceive regulators about the vehicles’ pollution levels.

This sparked a political backlash against diesel, with governments cutting incentives for the fuel and some expecting to ban it in the future.

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Porsche drops diesel engines from range

Porsche has ended production of all of its diesel-powered models in light of growing consumer scepticism over such vehicles and a growing interest in hybrid and pure electric technology.

Diesel powered versions of both the Panamera and Macan SUV have now been cut from the line-up – Porsche confirming that the final Macan S Diesel rolled off the firm’s production line last week, with all outstanding customer orders for the vehicle completed.

Porsche has also opted not to release a diesel-powered variant of the all-new Cayenne. The first generation version of the firm’s flagship SUV arrived on sale in 2002, with a diesel option arriving in 2009.

Explaining the decision, a statement from Porsche reads: “Diesel engines traditionally play a subordinate role at Porsche. Porsche does not develop or build diesel engines itself. Currently, the demand for diesel models is falling, whereas interest in hybrid and petrol models is increasing significantly.”

The statement also confirms that ongoing investigations by environmental authorities in light of 2016’s Volkswagen group ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal have led Porsche to call time on diesel.
With diesel on the back burner, electrification will step into the foreground for the Porsche brand. Further hybrid models – including a hybrid version of the next 911 – are in the pipeline, and a pure EV to arrive next year in the form of the production Mission E.

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German court could sink the value of diesel cars

Mercedes Benz Museum – Stuttgart, Germany

A court will decide on Thursday whether German cities can ban heavily polluting cars, potentially wiping hundreds of millions of Euros off the value of diesel cars on the country’s roads.

Environmental group DUH has sued Stuttgart, Germany’s car making hub, and Dusseldorf over levels of pollutant particles exceeding European Union limits.

The emission scandal of 2015 led politicians across the world to scrutinise diesel emissions, which contain the matter and nitrogen oxide (NOx) and are known to cause respiratory disease.

Environmental groups say levels of pollutants exceed the EU threshold in at least 90 German towns and cities.

German states, where carmakers have a strong influence, appealed against the decision, leaving Germany’s federal administrative court to rule on whether such bans can legally be imposed at local level.

“The key question is whether bans can already be considered to be legal instruments,” said Remo Klinger, a lawyer for DUH. “It’s a completely open question of law.”

Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have said they plan to ban diesel vehicles from city centres by 2025, while the mayor of Copenhagen wants to ban new diesel cars from entering the city as soon as next year. France and Britain will ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2040 in a shift to electric vehicles.

Evercore ISI forecasts a 5 percent fall in diesel residual values could result in a drop of NZ$2.3 billion in operating profit across eight European and U.S. carmakers.

Analysts at Bernstein Research have said that diesel bans in Europe would hit French carmaker Peugeot hardest, followed by Renault. Among German carmakers, Daimler’s global fleet exposure to diesel is around 38 percent, BMW’s 35 percent and VW’s 26 percent, Bernstein said in a report from 2016.

Carmakers have sought to avert total bans by updating engine management systems to improve exhaust-treatment filters, a step only possible on vehicles equipped with software-based engine-management systems.

Europe’s love affair with diesel is already fading, with its market share in the European Union falling from 53.6 percent at the end of 2014 to 49.9 percent at the end of 2016, European automotive association ACEA’s most recent data shows.

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Scotland to end sales of diesel, petrol cars by 2032

Scotland has announced they will phase out sales of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2032.

Scotland now follows a growing list of counties that have outlined intentions to move away from the internal combustion engine.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, outlined plans to “massively expand” charging points and set up pilot projects to encourage uptake of electric vehicles.

If Scotland meets its target, it will do so eight years ahead of the UK as a whole.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, outlined the plans.

“Our aim is for new petrol and diesel cars and vans to be phased out in Scotland by 2032,” Ms Sturgeon said.

The Government said the commitment was necessary due to the avoidable impact poor air quality was having on people’s health.

Jesse Norman, the parliamentary under-secretary at the Department for Transport, confirmed the Government’s plans.

“The Government has a manifesto commitment for almost all cars and vans on our roads to be zero emission by 2050. We believe this would necessitate all new cars and van being zero emission vehicles by 2040,” Mr Norman said in a written answer to the Commons.

The UK government said earlier this year that in the interests of meeting targets under the Paris climate accord and to reduce emissions to zero by 2050, they would end the production of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.

France has an even stricter target, announcing they would ban sales of the internal combustion engine the same year as the UK plans to have them phased out.

Earlier this week China also announced it would phase out the combustion engine, and focus on the production of electric vehicles.

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NZTA emissions project seeks test vehicles

The NZTA has embarked on an emissions testing project with two Auckland consultancies, and has made a call for diesel vehicles to take part.

A 2012 report for the NZTA found that harmful emissions from vehicles cause 256 premature deaths (with social costs of $934 million) annually in New Zealand.

The research is a joint effort between Emission Impossible Ltd and AirQuality Ltd, and will be using a portable emissions measurement system (PEMS) to test real-world fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions from vehicles – a first in New Zealand for on-road emissions testing.

The project is an NZ Transport Agency research project which aims to improve our understanding of real world emissions and fuel consumption in New Zealand.

The project is looking for vehicles built to a range of emission standards, including light duty petrol and diesel vehicles and to heavy duty trucks.

A list of the vehicle types the project is looking to test.

Testing is scheduled to be undertaken in Auckland over October and November this year.

The project is one of several NZTA initiatives that seeks to reduce emissions in, others including subsidies for electric vehicles, the emissions trading scheme and the Heavy Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Programme, launched 2012.

Interest in the emissions testing project can be expressed via phone or email to Gerda Kuschel at Emission Impossible on 09 629 1435, or email at gerda@emissionimpossible.co.nz.



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Carmakers agree to diesel filter

German carmakers have agreed to install software in 5.3 million cars to make exhaust filtering systems more effective.

The software will bring down the vehicles’ emissions of nitrogen oxide by 25-30 percent.

A statement from German industry body Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA) said the software updates would be free for motorists and would be just as effective in cutting nitrogen oxide levels as bans on diesel vehicles would be.

The targeted diesel cars will be mainly in the Euro-5 category for car emissions and some in the Euro-6 category.

Meanwhile, the manufacturers will also offer incentives for consumers to trade in diesel cars that are 10 years old or older.

BMW will give a discount of up to €2,000 ($NZ 3,229.83) to drivers who exchange a Euro-4 category BMW when they buy a new diesel BMW, electric BMW or Mini.

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Porsche may end diesels

According to an announcement by Porsche chief executive Oliver Blume, Porsche could discontinue diesel-fuelled cars in the near future.

Blume said in an interview at the Nuerburgring motorsports complex in Western Germany, that the company was looking into the issue and had not made a firm decision either way yet.

He said that the car manufacturer would offer a mix of combustion, plug-in hybrid and purely battery-powered cars.

Diesel-powered vehicles still make up approximately 15 per cent of global sales for Porsche, while they make up 35 per cent of sales for BMW vehicles.

Meanwhile, Porsche is spending $(US)1.2 billion in overhauling its main Stuttgart plant in order to build its first battery-only vehicle. The four-door Mission E saloon is due to be released in 2019. This will contribute to a projected plan for battery-only vehicles to account for a quarter of Porsche’s sales by 2025, according to Blume.

Porsche sales rose six per cent to a record 238,000 cars in 2016 and the company may deliver another zero-emission model off the Mission E platform, at its Zuffenhausen factory in the near future. Blume told Reuters an electrified version of the top-selling Macan SUV was also possible.

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VW fixes 470,000 cars in the UK

Volkswagen UK managing director Paul Willis has told lawmakers that 470,000 cars affected by the diesel emissions scandal have been fixed. 1.2 million cars in total were said to be affected in the UK.

“Out of 1.2 million technical measures which have to be applied, as of today, we have applied 470,000, and at the current rate we are applying these measures to 20,000 cars a week,” Willis told parliament’s transport committee.

Reuters reported that some UK lawmakers were angry that VW has not been fully held to account over the scandal. VW has not been fined in the UK, and owners have not received any compensation.

UK transport minister Chris Grayling is set to meet with German lawmakers next month and seek more information, which could lead to a British investigation into VW.

“(We) will go to Berlin next month to meet the minister … to request that we’re provided the detailed technical information that will allow us then, if we chose to, take further steps,” junior transport minister John Hayes said.

Hayes also said he will meet legal representatives of consumers taking legal action. Several British law firms have filed suits against VW, seeking compensation for UK drivers affected by the emissions scandal.

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Gull for sale

Caltex Australia announced to ASX on Thursday that it was buying Gull for $340 million.

As Gull is New Zealand and Australian owned, in order for the sale to go through, approval will need to be obtained from the Overseas Investment Office.
With the petrol company only running outlets between Northland and Masterton, the sale may be a positive move for people living further south. Gull has never moved further down south because it only owns one fuel terminal in Mount Maunganui.

If the sale does go ahead, Caltex said it would be “business as usual” for Gull and would not rebrand it.

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