Automakers divided on diesel demand impact

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Automakers across the world continue to wait to assess the impact of the Volkswagen emissions scandal on demand for diesel cars.

Some remain bullish that the industry will ride the storm and that demand for diesel-engined cars will continue to hold steady.

Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, told US journalists at a recent press event that the Chevrolet Cruze’s 2-liter diesel engine was “too good not to do it”, reiterating that plans for Chevrolet and Cadillac diesels remained on track.

Bosch chief executive Volkmar Denner thinks that diesel engine popularity continue, but cautioned that consumers might need some convincing in the short term: “It will depend on an active campaign for diesel to quickly dispel the current uncertainty that many consumers are feeling,” he said.

Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer holds the opposite view, however, saying that the Volkswagen scandal means that “time is up” for diesel. “In markets where you have a lot of installed capacity, diesel will go through a slow death,” he has predicted.

There continues to be speculation about the future for heavy polluting IC engines from a legislative point of view, too.

German environment minister Barbara Hendricks last week stated that there wouldn’t be a push to increase taxation on diesel cars, but the Association of European Car Manufacturers (ACEA) has warned that rushing through changes to emissions tests would be bad for the industry.

The European Commission is currently discussing plans to introduce real-world NOx testing to its emissions regime as early as next year. ACEA chairman Carlos Ghosn recently wrote to EU ministers complaining that the Volkswagen diesel scandal was overshadowing emissions plans, saying: “the current debate related to the use of ‘defeat devices’ is being confused with the important discussion on how to better measure real emissions values.”

October 20, 2015

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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