Diesel demise in Europe edging closer

Diesel’s demise in Europe, the main market for the engine type, is accelerating, with Volvo saying it will not be offered for the upcoming S60 saloon as the shift to electric cars takes shape.

The revamped mid-size S60 saloon, to be unveiled in the next few weeks, will be Volvo’s first model not featuring a diesel option.

While Toyota and Nissan earlier decided to phase out diesel choices altogether amid declining demand, diesel sales made up 70% for Volvo in Europe last year. At Toyota, it was 10%.

The chief executive at the Gothenburg-based Volvo, Hakan Samuelsson, said: “Our future is electric and we will no longer develop a new generation of diesel engines.We will phase out cars with only an internal combustion engine with petrol hybrid versions as a transitional option as we move towards full electrification.”

Consumer demand for diesel vehicles has slid ever since Volkswagen’s cheating on emissions regulation became public in September 2015, with concern spreading as more carmakers became embroiled in the ensuing fallout.

European carmakers are divided on diesel, with German manufacturers committed to the embattled technology as a stop-gap to reach the EU’s ambitious regulation on cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Volvo, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely, has said it plans to offer only hybrid or full-electric motors on every new model launched from 2019.

In Volvo’s home country, municipalities will be able to ban older diesel cars from certain areas of cities from 2020. Other cities like Paris have outlined similar plans.

About 44% of cars sold in Western Europe last year were equipped with diesel engines, down from a peak of 56% in 2011, according to statistics from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Fiat Chrysler will cease to offer diesel versions for its Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Jeep, and Maserati brands by 2022, as chief executive Sergio Marchionne sees hybrid vehicles as the way to meet goals on CO2 reduction, with diesel sales unlikely to recover.

Britain will release more details in the weeks ahead on its planned ban of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040, said business secretary Greg Clark.

There is particular uncertainty as to whether hybrid cars.

“We’re going to publish a strategy paper on this in the weeks ahead. It is very much designed to be a transition that is industry-led,” said Mr Clark.

- Bloomberg and Reuters

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