Decline in diesel car sales is offset by more demand for petrol

Time 10:55 am, September 28, 2017

DIESEL’S market share among the EU-15 fell from 50.2 per cent to 46.3 per cent of new car registrations in the first half of 2017, according to figures published today by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

The EU-15 comprises the UK along with Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, and the member states of the European Union saw 152,323 fewer diesel cars sold – down from 3,643,753 to 3,491,430, equalling a drop of 4.2 per cent.

However, the drop was offset by an increase in the sale of petrol vehicles. And auto makers cautioned that the shift to petrol engines with higher CO2 values would pose additional challenges to meeting future CO2 reduction targets.

Erik Jonnaert

For the first time since 2009, petrol vehicles have overtaken diesel to become the most sold car type among the EU-15 manufacturers, which comprise the BMW Group, Daf Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, Opel Group, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars and Volvo Group.

The association (ACEA) – which represents the Europe-based manufacturers – said that petrol vehicles now accounted for 48.5 per cent of new passenger car sales, up from 45.8 per cent a year ago, which translates into 328,615 extra petrol cars sold year-on-year – rising from 3,329,473 to 3,658,088 (up by 9.9 per cent). Alternative powertrains – electric, hybrid and LPG/natural gas/E85 – saw a 35.6 per cent rise of 103,215 units from 289,739 to 392,954.

ACEA secretary general Erik Jonnaert said: ‘Alternative powertrains will undoubtedly play an increasing role in the transport mix, and all European manufacturers are investing heavily in them.

‘To this end, more needs to be done to encourage consumers to buy alternatively powered vehicles, for instance by putting in place the right incentives and deploying a recharging infrastructure across the EU.

‘In the meantime, however, as diesel cars emit significantly less CO2 than equivalent petrol-powered vehicles, they will have to be part of the gradual transition to low-carbon vehicles, acting as a “bridge” technology.’

He added: ‘Policy makers need to be aware that a sudden shift from diesel technology to petrol will lead to an increase in CO2 emissions, given that the market penetration of alternative powertrains remains low.’

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