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2019 June
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Car and Driver: Porsche Won’t Make a Self-Driving Car Anytime Soon

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2016 Porsche Cayman GT4


For some, the Porsche brand was forever diluted when the company started building the Cayenne, but according to its CEO, it will always make driver’s cars. Literally. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume told a German newspaper that Porsche had no plans to build a self-driving car. The news subsequently was reported by Reuters.


“One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself,” said Blume, speaking to Westfalen-Blatt, a local German newspaper. “An iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road.” We don’t know for certain, but it sure sounds like Blume is throwing some shade at Apple’s rumored self-driving car.


While Porsche has always built driver’s cars, the decision to not develop a self-driving model stands in contrast with the bulk of the automotive industry. Nearly every major automaker and many prominent tech companies have made clear their intent of developing full-autonomous technology as soon as possible. Even McLaren’s head designer Frank Stephenson said said he considers self-driving cars from his company a serious possibility.


2016 Porsche 911 GT3 RS


Blume is doubling down, then, on Porsche’s reputation as a maker of hard-core sports cars, even as it derives the bulk of its profits now from the Cayennes, Macans, and Panameras many shoppers choose as luxurious status symbols. This makes sense, as it’s the considerable aura of the sports cars that moves the more mundane crossovers and sedans out of showrooms, but could Porsche be harming its future by ruling out autonomous tech?


Again, the 911 GT3 RS isn’t keeping the lights on in Stuttgart. We don’t ever want one of those that drives itself—and we take heart in the maker’s commitment to the manual transmission—but doesn’t a self-driving SUV or sedan make some sense for a company that competes head-to-head with other luxury automakers in those segments, to ensure the brand survives to build its amazing sports cars?


In the same interview, Blume reemphasized Porsche’s commitment to electrification. He said a plug-in hybrid 911 could reach the market in 2018, which confirms previous reports. The fully electric Mission E sedan also remains on the agenda. It’s a good thing that Porsche will fight against a dull, autonomous future, but let’s hope it won’t be a losing battle.


This story originally appeared on Road & Track.


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