The boss of Porsche today apologised for his firm’s role in the Volkswagen ‘dieselgate’ scandal as he announced record sales and profits and signalled that the firm was charging towards an electric future.
Porsche executive board chairman Oliver Blume said his firm accepted ‘full responsibility’ for the cheating by his parent firm VW over diesel emissions figures, as its engines were used in its cars.
He also raised fears of the effect of Brexit on sales to the UK – one of its biggest and important markets.
Product recall: Oliver Blume said that in co-operation with the German Federal Motor Transport Authority it recalled last summer the Cayenne 3.0-litre V6 diesel vehicle after its internal investigation revealed ‘irregularities in the engine control software’
But Porsche’s investment in electric cars is to double to €6billion by 2025 as Porsche develops a new family of pure electric and electric-hybrid vehicles as part of its Mission E project.
Speaking to the German car firm’s annual results press conference at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Blume announced the Porsche had delivered a record 246,375 new vehicles to customers in 2017 with group sales revenues up five per cent to €23.49bn and pre-tax operating profit up seven per cent to €4.14bn.
Profits after tax were up nearly €500million to €3.1bn
But he noted: ‘As you know, 2017 was not an exclusively positive year.
‘As part of the Volkswagen Group, we are also affected by the diesel issue.
‘Although Porsche itself does not develop or produce diesel engines, it goes without saying we accept full responsibly.’
He said that in co-operation with the German Federal Motor Transport Authority it recalled last summer the Cayenne 3.0-litre V6 diesel vehicle after its internal investigation revealed ‘irregularities in the engine control software.’
It then issued new software updates to ‘correct the issue.’
Blume said: ’Across Europe, the recall affects around 21,500 vehicles built between 2014 and 20-17.
‘Of the approximately 6,000 affected vehicles in Germany, more than half have already been converted.’
Changes have also been made to the Porsche Macan Diesel 3.0 V6TDi as part of a ‘voluntary service campaign.’
Porsche was working with the authorities to ‘resolve any ambiguities and correct any errors,’ he said: ‘If there is a problem of some kind we will work to resolve it.’
Vehicle changes: Blume said that changes have also been made to the Porsche Macan Diesel 3.0 V6TDi as part of a ‘voluntary service campaign’
Currently just 12 per cent of Porsche cars have diesel engines as petrol-electric vehicles have increased.
Some 60 per cent of new Panamera sales are now hybrid.
He stressed: ’Set against this backdrop, we have adjusted production planning for our diesel models and currently no longer offer any vehicles with diesel engines.’
But he stressed: ’However, this in no way indicates that Porsche is intending to move away from diesel.
‘We intend to produce a diesel version of the new Cayenne.’
But there is no timeline yet for its introduction.
On Brexit, Blume said: ’We were also a little concerned by the ‘Brexit’ issue and the question marks hanging over future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom.
‘The United Kingdom is traditionally a key sales market for Porsche.’
Brexit fears: Blume raised concerns over the Brexit issue and the question marks hanging over future relations between the EU and the UK
Porsche bosses expanded on plans for their all-electric 600horse-power sports car code-named Mission E with a top speed of 155mph but blistering acceleration from rest to 62mph in under 3.5 seconds, and a range of more than 300 miles.
It will be able to charge in 15 minutes for a range of around 250 miles.
It also plans a network of 400 powerful rapid charging stations by 2020.
Beyond this Porsche is planning three new electric model families.
At the Geneva motor Show Porsche showed a 4X4 crossover version of its Mission E electric car project called Mission E Cross Turismo.
Blume said: ’The automotive industry is undergoing a period of transformation. In the coming years it will change more than in the last 50 years combined.
‘This transformation is centred on the electrification if drives.’