Diesel market share in Europe drops below 50%; offset by increased gasoline engine sales; implications for climate targets
Diesel’s market share in the EU-15 fell from 50.2% to 46.3% of new car registrations in the first half of 2017, according to the European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA). In absolute numbers, 152,323 fewer diesel cars were sold. This drop was offset by an increase in the sale of gasoline engined vehicles. Automakers are cautioning that this shift to gasoline engines—with their higher CO2 values—will pose additional challenges to meeting future CO2 reduction targets.
For the first time since 2009, gasoline vehicles have overtaken diesel to become the most sold car type in the EU-15. Gasoline vehicles now account for 48.5% of new passenger car sales, up from 45.8% a year ago—328,615 extra gasoline cars sold year-on-year. Electrically-chargeable vehicles accounted for 1.3% of total car sales (a market share which remains stable), hybrids for 2.6%, and cars powered by propane or natural gas for 1.3%.
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 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. 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.”—ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert
Seeking to exploit the opportunity provided by the decline in diesel, in September, Dr. Johan Van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, announced today that in future it is Toyota’s ambition to provide its core models with a choice of two hybrid powertrains. One will provide the traditional benefits of efficiency and fuel economy, as in the current offer. The second will build on this and add more power and a more dynamic driving character. More details about these plans will be revealed early next year.
ACEA represents the 15 Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: 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.