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New Diesels in Western Europe Reach All-Time High of 51.9%

Diesel marketshare of newly registered passenger cars in Western Europe reached an all-time high of 51.9% in October, according to figures from Robert Bosch GmbH.  This represents a 5.3 percentage point jump in comparison to October 2003.

According to Bosch, the percentage of new diesel cars in Germany reached a record 47.9% in October, up from 41.5% in October 2003.  Austria, Belgium and France recorded the highest diesel shares with more than 70%.  In both the UK and Italy, diesel registrations increased by 7.5 percentage points—from 29.6% to 37.1% in the UK, and from 52.9% to 60.4% in Italy.

The highest growth rates are registered for high-end cars, where the diesel share increased by 9 percentage points to 44.4% and in the compact class with a 7.1 percentage point increase to 33.2%.

The success story of the diesel is going to continue. One third less fuel consumption in comparison with the gasoline engine and correspondingly fewer carbon dioxide emissions are convincing arguments. And the great driving pleasure with today's diesel engines with state-of-the-art high-pressure fuel injection systems fascinates more and more drivers all over the world.

—Wolfgang Chur, Member of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH

Quite right on fuel consumption and CO2. That leaves the PM problem. It’s increasingly clear that there is no safe level for human exposure to particulate matter—and that the smaller particles may be the most damaging. About 100,000 Europeans now die prematurely every year due to PM exposure. The current average life expectancy is shortened by about 9 months in the EU, and by up to 1–2 years in some member states.  (European Commission—DG Environment)

PM is an area in which the US has lately been more aggressive than the rest of the globe. Given the ever-increasing presence of diesel vehicles on its roads, Europe will need not only the upcoming Euro 5 Standards that will cut permissible levels of PM in half from their current levels for new cars—it will likely need a more aggressive policy to deal with the existing members of the rapidly proliferating diesel fleet.


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