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Diesel loses dominance in European car registrations

By / 3 years ago / Latest News / 1 Comment

Diesel registrations in Europe declined 15% in April, ensuring the fuel type has lost its dominance of the car market.


Diesels accounted for just 46% of the market in April 2017.

The figures from JATO Dynamics show that diesel new cars performed well below the market average and accounted for just 46% of the market in April 2017, compared to a 50% market share in April 2016.

Felipe Munoz, global automotive analyst at JATO Dynamics, said: “While there are several reasons for this shift, all evidence points to the ‘dieselgate’ scandal as the start of this decline. Since the scandal, which broke in 2015, the fuel type has suffered major setbacks to its reputation as governments consider new legislation that directly affect diesel car owners – such as plans in the UK for a diesel scrappage scheme.

“In tandem with this, the media continues to advise consumers to avoid the fuel type wherever possible. When factoring in the ongoing push for electric/hybrid vehicles, which are particularly prevalent in markets like the UK, it is perhaps no surprise to see this decline in performance from diesel.”

The decline comes as the overall European new car market recorded a 7.1% fall year on year in April, along with the largest monthly decline seen since March 2013, with new registrations for the month totalling 1.22 million units.

Four of Europe’s five largest markets posted decreases in registrations in April, with Spain the only market to experience an increase in registrations albeit a minor 0.8%.

The largest decrease in Europe’s biggest five markets was in the UK, where registrations decreased by 19.8%, as the market felt the impact of the new VED rates. Meanwhile, in Germany, registrations decreased by 8%, followed by France, which saw a fall in registrations of 6.2%, and Italy, which was down 5.2%.

The decline in registrations particularly affected traditional car segments – compact cars posted a drop in registrations of 11.9%, subcompact registrations decreased by 9% and MPV registrations shrunk by 21.3%. Meanwhile SUVs continued to grow, posting an increase in registrations of 7.2% – but this growth wasn’t enough to offset the double-digit drops seen by other segments.

The Volkswagen Golf regained its position as Europe’s most popular car model – after the Ford Fiesta took the spot in March – but was still down 28.1% year on year, followed by the Clio (down 7.1%) and the Polo (down 11.4%).

Volkswagen remained as the top selling brand but was down 13.9% year on year while second-placed Renault saw sales drop 4.5% and a 10.8% fall for Ford in third place.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.