‘Worst is yet to come’ for diesel cars claims new research
It was reported last week that diesel car sales slumped by almost 20 per cent in 2017, as the whole market dipped 5.7 per cent.
This was due to numerous factors but mainly the negative press diesel vehicles have received over the past 18 months since the VW dieselgate scandal.
The scandal involving one of the world’s biggest car manufacturers has had knock-on ramifications for the rest of the industry.
New research from Aston University has now suggested that the ‘worst is yet to come’ for diesel motors and their share of the UK car market could be slashed from around 50 per cent to 15 per cent by 2025.
Automotive expert Professor David Bailey believes diesels could face another double-digit slump in 2018 as environmental pressures and consumer confusion take their toll.
Professor Bailey said: “Diesel cars face a raft of challenges, each one of which could damage sales, and which are combining to kill off the domestic diesel sector, which was so rattled by the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal.
“They face a ‘perfect storm’ of bad PR over pollution, coupled with concerns over increasingly strict regulations and sinking second-hand values.
“Sales of diesels are set to fall by up to 10 per cent in 2018, and they could have as little as 30 per cent of the market by 2020 – shrinking rapidly to 15 per cent by 2025.
“And this is despite diesels accounting for 50 per cent or more of the market just a few years ago.”
Diesel cars face a raft of challenges, each one of which could damage sales
Professor Bailey suggests that the UK car market has been ‘over-trading’ for some time and inflation and wages being ‘squeezed’ could lead to further overall declines.
“The car market has been over-trading for some time now, which is why 2016 remains one of the best years on record for car sales despite the marked slowdown in overall purchases.
“But it’s hardly good news for the sector.
“None of the factors acting as a brake on car sales has gone away: wages are being squeezed, inflation is creeping up.
“Then factor in interest rate rises and an ongoing strengthening of European car markets, cutting the number of cheap vehicles offloaded on the UK, and we could be looking at another cut in sales of between 5 and 10 per cent in 2018.”
Despite this, however, some areas of the market are expected to grow, mainly petrol and hybrid cars but also the electric vehicles.
There are now calls for the Government to introduce a scrappage scheme to encourage drivers to buy low emissions or EVs by trading in their older vehicles for financial incentive.
“Governments have missed several opportunities to encourage drivers to switch to electric vehicles, starting way back in 2001 when there was a misconceived drive to get people to opt for diesels.
“Now that it’s clear diesel is dying a slow death, the time is right for the government to take the initiative and offer up scrappage benefits to those who are prepared to ditch their diesels and switch to electric cars.
Diesel car sales declined by 17.1 per cent in the UK
Petrol cars typically emit more CO2 emissions than diesels and with the uncertainty around the future of the diesel engine and higher cost of hybrid and electric vehicles, drivers are moving over to petrol.
MPs have said that if CO2 levels continue to rise, they will intervene swiftly.
Whether this means taxes will be imposed on petrol or restrictions on their usage will be introduced or not is yet to be concerned but it certainly isn’t just diesel cars that motorists need to worry about.