Remember Dieselgate? That famous saga five years ago where a group of scientists at West Virginia University uncovered that Volkswagen diesel vehicles could detect whether or not they were being tested for emissions and alter their ‘performance’ accordingly. The ensuing media and financial firestorm hit VW hard, and they have yet to recover fully. Unfortunately, Porsche is part of the Volkswagen Audi Group (VAG) and some of the excellent S-Class diesels installed in the Cayenne series were also fitted with a ‘defeat device’ for manipulating emissions. This led to them being fined about $632 million in Germany last year.
Lawsuits and probes are still ongoing within the company and it has now come to light that there is the possibility that some of the gas powered Porsches may also have been tampered with. This was also done to falsely reduce the environmental impact caused by their emissions. Models of 911 and Panamera built for the European market between 2008-2013 are allegedly affected, according to the German newspaper, Bild Am Sontag. Manipulations to hardware and software affecting engine and exhaust components are suspected, according to German news agency, Reuters.
A Porsche spokesperson told Reuters that discrepancies had been noticed during a routine review of its models, and the relevant authorities notified. He assured the press that the issues were related to vehicles developed several years ago and there was no indication that current production was affected. Germany’s transport authority (the KBA) have launched an investigation into the case as reported by Bild Am Sontag. According to Reuters The ongoing investigation involves going through meeting minutes and thousands of internal emails.
What Does This Mean For Porsche Owners?
Unless you own a Porsche Cayenne, Panamera or 911 from the affected model years, you are unlikely to be affected. Even so, there is currently no official evidence that the 911 or Panamera have been tampered with. However, should such evidence come to light, it is unclear whether or not it will affect the models produced for the US market, since currently only the European ones are implicated. Worst case scenario, Porsche will issue an official recall for the affected units and rectify the issue. Whether or not this comes with a performance trade-off remains to be seen.
The Moral Of The Story?
The recent scientific studies into emissions regulations have left few manufacturers without egg on their faces. Daimler Benz and BMW have also been implicated and fined. Renault has come under the microscope as well as Hyundai, Volvo and Fiat. Ever tightening emissions laws in the EU and U.S. continue to leave manufacturers between a rock and a hard place when it comes to producing economically viable vehicles; BMW reported a 24% drop in profits during 2018 for this reason alone. The passenger and performance vehicle segment is tired of trying to make diesel engines (which are already more costly to manufacture due to their high compression ratios) viable economically. We are already seeing smaller diesels being phased out in Europe.
As the environmental revolution continues, even highly efficient petrol engines are in jeopardy. The future is electric vehicles, and the sad truth is that the internal combustion cars which remain are going to increasingly be those of historical significance. The silver lining? With overall vehicle sales repressed this year, now has never been a better time to consider the Porsche Taycan.