No anti-diesel attitude in EU consumers, says car industry
By Peter Teffer
The share of diesel among new passenger cars in Western Europe dropped last year, according to a report by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (Acea).
The share of diesel went from 52.1 percent to 49.9 percent in the 15 original EU member states. Acea did not give figures for the entire EU.
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In the EU-15, the diesel share dropped in 13 countries, most sharply in the Netherlands, from 28.9 percent to 18.9 percent. Only in Italy and Denmark did the proportion of diesel cars increase.
However, Acea president Dieter Zetsche said he did not believe people were moving away from diesel because of the VW diesel emissions scandal.
“We do not see a significant reaction on the customer side”, said Zetsche, noting that the price of fuel is a more important factor in the decision.
“I do believe this change is minor in relation to the attention which has been paid to that topic since 15 months in the media and in politics,” he said, refraining from using the words cheating, fraud, Volkswagen, or scandal.
“Mistakes have been made. Responsibility has to be taken,” said Zetsche about “the diesel discussion”, which saw carmakers use flexibilities in the law to produce cars that passed the emissions laboratory test, but were much dirtier on the road.
He noted that the car industry was going “all in” to move towards “cleaner, safer, smarter mobility”.
“We fully support the need for more realistic emissions testing,” said Zetsche, adding that new test methods “are essential methods to win back the trust of customers”.
As of September 2017, new rules on Real Driving Emissions (RDE) will come into force.
Zetsche noted that the car industry was “still waiting for the fourth and last package” of RDE rules and said the timing was “demanding”.
However, it was the car industry that successfully stalled introduction of the first packages of legislation.
In the entire EU, passenger car registration went up from 13.7 million cars in 2015, to 14.6 million cars, an increase of 6.8 percent.