With the demise of diesel Porsches made official, is there a chance that in the longterm future these models might become collectable?
Chairs were thrown, voices raised and – heartbreakingly – lunch was knocked to the floor as heated debate broke out in the AutoClassics office. Was it over the classic Aston Martin vs Jaguar debate? Nope, it was actually over diesel cars. Porsche has just announced that it will discontinue its diesel offering as a result of low sales and new emissions challenges. When the question of “could a diesel Porsche become worth something in the future?” was pondered out loud, that’s when the trouble began.
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There’s some sound logic to the idea of a diesel Porsche becoming a rare thing in the future, but there’s also strong arguments for why it might not become a collector's item at all.
The economics of the notion is simple. Diesel demand will likely continue to decrease and further lower the residual values of diesel Porsches on the secondhand market. Over the years, or even a decade or two, fewer and few will be kept on the road making them a rare find — particularly if diesel fuel is scarce by this point. A car that’s few in numbers is usually of value to someone.
The other side of the coin is that diesel just isn’t sexy. While the Porsche brand is aspirational, diesel was designed for fuel economy and not to attract your typical Porsche buyer. In 2017 Just 12% of global orders were for diesel Porsches suggesting that its customer base was more interested in MPH than MPG.
A valid point, however, Porsche’s move into diesel wasn’t done simply to attract well-heeled business car users. Performance is the brands' ultimate goal and the low-down thrust a diesel engine provides can be advantageous. The last Panamera 4S diesel was capable of 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds and possessed a top speed of 177mph thanks to a twin-turbo V8. Those figures currently make it the world’s fastest road production diesel. Porsche’s diesel units were just as exotic as their petrol engines.
The fleets of Cayenne, Macan and more run-of-the-mill Panamera diesels will likely be forgotten, but there’s the potential for particular models to become collectable if their numbers reduce over the years. When Porsche paused diesel production in February 2018 to contemplate its future, the Panamera Sport Turismo hadn’t been on sale for very long at all — much less than a year. A small proportion of those cars would have been diesel making them rare to begin with. It’s this sort of thinking that makes the strongest case for collectable diesel Porsches in the future.
So, should you invest in a diesel Porsche in the hope that it will increase in value? Sadly, that question can’t be really answered as time and a changing automotive climate are such big factors. It’s certain that a diesel Porsche won’t ever be valued as highly as other exotic future classics, but as an oddity in the German brand’s history the right one might be worth something. Short term, Porsche diesel values will likely decline — medium term, people will be getting a lot of car for the fraction of the original price — long term, who knows?