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Porsche Drops Diesel Engines in Wake of Emissions Scandal

BERLIN—German luxury car maker

Porsche
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will no longer offer diesel versions of its cars, the

Volkswagen
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VOW3 1.23%

unit said Sunday, becoming the first German auto maker to drop the engines in the wake of the emissions-cheating scandal.

“As a sports-car maker where diesel has traditionally played an inferior role, we have come to the conviction that we’ll continue without diesel,” Porsche said in a statement.

Porsche’s decision highlights a growing trend among premium auto manufacturers to focus resources on the rise of plug-in hybrid and full-battery electric vehicles over the next decade, rather than on developing diesel in face of rising costs of developing combustion engines that meet ever-stricter emissions regulations.

The decision also comes as diesel car sales have plunged as part of a wider backlash of the emissions-cheating scandal with European cities beginning to ban older diesel models from their roads to meet emissions reductions targets.

In an interview with German weekly Bild am Sonntag, which first reported Porsche’s decision, Chief Executive Oliver Blume recognized that Porsche’s image had suffered in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal.

“The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” he said, adding that was is the reason the car maker wants to focus on petrol and hybrids—and from 2019 all-electric vehicles as well.

Porsche-parent Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government over emissions levels for its diesel cars. The company’s cheating came to light in September 2015, when Volkswagen admitted some 11 million of its diesel vehicles world-wide were equipped with software that allowed them to sidestep emissions testing.

Porsche had been weighing the decision to drop diesel engines since the beginning of the scandal.

Diesel models at Porsche have been on a decline in recent years while demand for hybrid models is surging, Porsche said. In 2017, 12% of Porsche cars globally were diesel-powered while in Europe 63% of the Porsche Panamera are already hybrid models. Porsche hasn’t had a diesel model in its portfolio since February 2018, the company said.

Porsche is investing over €6 billion ($7 billion) into hybrid and electric mobility technology until 2022. Every other new Porsche car will likely be electrically-powered by 2025, either as a hybrid or fully electric, the company said.

Some car makers have taken even more radical steps. Volvo last year said that all models from 2019 would be either fully electric or a hybrid as the Chinese-owned auto maker became the first major auto maker to announce it would phase out combustion-engine only vehicles that have dominated the industry for decades.

Porsche, however, added that is wasn’t “demonizing diesel.” “It is and will remain an important propulsion technology,” Porsche said, adding that it will continue to service holders of Porsche diesel models.

Write to Ruth Bender at Ruth.Bender@wsj.com

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