FRANKFURT — In the wake of the Volkswagen diesel scandal, Porsche will not bring the diesel-powered variant of the redesigned Cayenne midsize crossover to the U.S.
The Cayenne's popular diesel variant was pulled from the U.S. market in late 2015 after the revelation that parent Volkswagen had cheated on U.S. emissions testing of its diesel vehicles. Though Porsche will make a diesel version of the redesigned Cayenne for other markets, it will not come to the U.S. anytime soon, Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America Inc., told Automotive News at the auto show here last week.
"We actually think we can compensate for the lack of diesel cars with a plug-in hybrid solution that clearly is bridging the future until we have battery-electric vehicles only," Zellmer said.
Porsche unveiled the third-generation Cayenne in late August and debuted a Turbo version at the Frankfurt show. The redesigned Cayenne will go on sale in Europe this fall but won't reach the U.S. market until next summer as a 2019 model.
In the outgoing Cayenne, the diesel was popular in the U.S., accounting for about 20 percent of sales in 2015, the last year it was available.
Porsche now is looking to replace that volume with higher sales of the Cayenne's plug-in hybrid variant, Zellmer said. In 2016, after the diesel had been pulled, the plug-in Cayenne accounted for 14 percent of the nameplate's mix, making it the second-most popular variant after the V-6-powered base model.
"Since we changed the character of the hybrid strategy to a performance-enhancing device, compared to looking more at fuel economy, so you actually get an extra kick from the car, we think that goes really well with the DNA of Porsche," Zellmer said. "And at the end of the day, it also adds the electric range to your car."
Porsche hasn't yet announced a plug-in variant for the third-generation Cayenne, but Zellmer confirmed one is coming. He anticipates being able to take orders on the announced variants of the Cayenne beginning in December, with the order bank for the plug-in hybrid variant opening later in 2018.