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European Automobile Production Grows by 5.3% in 2007; Diesel Accounts for 53.3% of New Car Registrations

Diesel share of new car registrations in Western Europe, 1990-2007. Click to enlarge.

Automotive production from the European motor vehicle industry in the EU27 grew 5.3% in 2007, reaching nearly 19.7 million vehicles (passenger cars, trucks and buses), according to the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) winter Economic Report.

Diesel-powered cars accounted for 53.3% of total new car registrations in Western Europe in 2007, up from 13.8% in 1990. Luxembourg (77.2%), Belgium (77%), France (73.9%) and Spain (70.9%) had the highest diesel share of new car registrations in 2007. The share of 4x4s has increased steadily as well, rising from 2.6% in 1990 to 9.9% in 2009.

Average new passenger car engine displacement and power in Western Europe, 1990-2007. Click to enlarge.

The average displacement for passenger car engines in Western Europe has flattened somewhat over the past few years, but increased from 1,733cc in 2006 to 1,740 cc in 2007. The highest average to date was 1,745cc in 2004. Average power has been increasing steadily, and reached 87 kW in 2007.

Passenger cars accounted for 87% of the production, an increase of 5.5% compared to 2006. A particularly solid growth was noted in the truck sector (+15%) thanks to a booming demand on the European markets. The production of light commercial vehicles also went up (+2%) whereas the production of buses declined by 24%. New EU member states posted a 25.2% growth in automotive production and accounted for 15% of total EU motor vehicle production and 17% of passenger car production by the end of 2007.

Demand for new vehicles in Europe remained on an upward trend (+1.8%) in 2007 mainly thanks to mounting new passenger car registrations in the new member states, demand in which grew 13.9% , compared to Western Europe’s 0.2% increase. The year saw a 6.8% growth in truck registrations. The European market ended the year with 7.1% more vans, 5.1% trucks over 3.5 tonnes and 4.4% more buses and coaches registered.

In 2006, there were 251 million vehicles on the European roads according to the latest ANFAC (Spanish Automobile Association) report. The few new EU members missing in the report account for around 10 million additional cars. Passenger cars represent 88% (230 million) of all the vehicles on the European roads. The European car fleet is highly concentrated in five main markets (Germany, Italy, France, UK and Spain) and is characterized by a high diesel penetration (30%).

In terms of car density, the ratio of cars to population was 0.5 in Western Europe with every second citizen owing a car. In Eastern Europe this figure is one out of five. On the mature and saturated West European market, car demand stems mainly from replacement whereas in the new EU Members there is still large room for new customers.

The EU as an entity is the world’s largest vehicle producer. Of the 50 million cars produced globally, one third are manufactured in the EU.  More than 80% of the 15.96 million cars registered in Europe in 2007 were produced by the ACEA members: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, FIAT, Ford of Europe, General Motors Europe, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, Porsche, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Renault, Scania, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen and Volvo.



David Greenfield

Acknowledging that this discussion is about diesel, don't the arguments here presented point toward moving away from hydrocarbons?


I am reading DieselPower Magazine December 2006 top left of page 36 about a study. This study was done by University of Edinburgh Center for Cardiovascular Science and reported by the Edinburgh Scotsman stating 'that microscopic soot particles in diesel exhaust are to blame for 9000 deaths each year in the United Kingdom.' It goes to mention lung absorbtion arteries harden and viola clots are born. In 2008 DPF's are mandated for Europe but the study states that the worst still get trhu 'Sleep tight!'

Thought you would want to know this.


@ Andy -

Actually, I subscribe to DP and saw that little blurb. I emailed a response to the editor, reiterating most of what I've mentioned in this thread. Never saw it published though.

I'm not arguing that diesel particulate matter is innocuous, just that there are many sources of ambient ultrafine PM, including gasoline engines. That plus all studies I've seen show DPFs are very effective over the entire particle size range, including nanoparticles in the sub-10 nanometer aerodynamic diameter size.

I personally became suspicious of Diesel engines being the primary source of ambient ultrafine PM because of a study conducted in the late 1990s (Southern Oxidant Study - SOS). It showed that EC (diesel PM is about 75% EC by mass according to EPA and several other studies) makes up a VERY small portion of ultrafine PM (by mass), approximately 1%. Nearly 75% of ambient ultrafine PM is organic carbon (OC). Gasoline PM is about 75% OC.

Actually, the SOS suggested that most ambient ultrafine PM is secondary in nature, i.e., formed in the atmosphere by gaseous precursors, rather than directly emitted.


In fact, with improved methods of producing diesel fuel from crude oil and the likely increasing use of diesel fuel derived from oil-laden algae, the diesel particulate problem will actually drop, not increase. That's because using the latest diesel fuel formulations and biodiesel fuel results in cleaner-burning engines, and combined with the latest in DPF technology the whole issue of diesel particulates is pretty much resolved.

With improving fuel-delivery technology (notably going to even higher-pressure common-rail direct fuel injection with the fuel pressurized at 2500 to 3000 bar range), that results in more engine power and lower emissions due to more precise fuel delivery to the combustion chamber.


I don't think Carl is arguing that diesel emissions are without harm. Any combustion will produce emissions that result in health impacts to humans, fauna, flora, etc. His point is to offer published reports on diesel emissions tests. Sure, we can argue if the tests are real world. But, spleen venting about how bad diesel emissions are without quantifying the argument with solid scientific results is as useful as tribulations. Give me trials instead. Litesong-style rhetoric, no matter how good the intentions are, clog this very informative forum with ad nausea nonsense. If you have an axe to grind, at least contribute some intelligent information to back up your assertions. Cheers.


Another reason to hail the Franco-German autoindustry:


The issue of health and diesel engines is not yet clear because diesels built more than about ten years ago were using very different technology.

The new fuel injection systems produce much cleaner burn and the new urea based converter systems clean the exhaust much better.

The USA had not adopted the new cleaner diesel fuel standards until September of 2006.

It is probably possible to solve air quality problems if they still exist in new diesels. It may require a new fuel standard rather than trying to remove particles already burned. Bio diesel, methanol and Fischer Troppe produced diesel have very different burn characteristics than diesel currently refined from crude oil. Diesel engines produce 40% better fuel efficiency than gasoline engines so a way must be found to take advantage of that at least until fuel cell or battery technology allows a change to electric vehicles.


Where the heck do people like litesong keep coming from? My God man - who is paying you? How can one be so completely dense and illogical? Just scary.

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