Published on January 2nd, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Diesel’s slow demise in Europe. 2 years ago it was the top seller

How quickly things have changed in the European motoring landscape. Just 2 years ago, diesel was the ‘darling’ of the industry and today it is the evil relative. European car manufacturers say they are taking steps to clean up their diesels. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz spent 3 billion euros to develop a new family of 4 and 6-cylinder diesels capable of drastically cutting on-road NO2 emissions. By the end of 2019, roughly 80% of all new diesels sold in Germany will be equipped with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) converters, which is the most expensive exhaust after-treatment system on the market. Acting now, however, may be too little, too late as town councils and legislators are moving fast to remove diesel vehicles from urban areas.

During the first 6-months 2017, the penetration rate for diesels in Europe’s car fleet dropped to 45.3% from 49.4% during the same period last year. It was the lowest share and the fastest drop for diesel since 2009. By end of this year the figure is said to be even lower as more European car buyers opt more for petrol, electric and hybrid vehicles.

Adjusted for that effect, the 2017 numbers for diesels look historically bad, especially in Germany where new manufacturer incentives to purchase new Euro 6 diesels have so far fallen flat.

The sales situation worsened when the German city of Stuttgart decided ban diesel cars in the city center in coming years. Customer demand for diesels fell once more in August, with the share dropping to 37.7% in August as sales slipped 14%. That was their lowest last year and down sharply from 45% in the previous one.

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