Diesels in Europe: Bad Numbers, But Not That Bad
Yes, the number of diesels is down in Europe, but comparatively speaking. . . .
Volkswagen “flow transformer” that it developed in the fall of 2015 for the EA 189 1.6-liter diesel to improve flow for improved engine management. (Photos: Volkswagen)
It wasn’t all that many years ago that diesel sales in Europe were pretty much like SUV sales are in the U.S. right now: growing, growing, growing. Gasoline-powered vehicles were eclipsed by those boasting compression ignition engines under their hoods. Excellent low-end torque and great fuel efficiency. What could be better?
Then the shoe drops. But then there was that series of events that became public mid-decade that has become labeled “Dieselgate.”
And not only did customers in the U.S. decide that diesels were less than environmentally benign because of what had been done to game their emissions numbers, but those in Europe pretty much came to the same conclusion.
A more comprehensive look at the elements that VW hoped would make the EA 189 diesel the desirable engine that it had been.
Really drops. Research organization Inovev has been crunching the numbers on what is being installed under the hoods of vehicles in Europe.
In 2016, 50% of Euro vehicles had diesels.
In 2017, it slipped to 45%.
In 2018—yep, a slide to 36%
And for the first half of 2019, 33%.
Just imagine the havoc that a market shift like that has had on suppliers that rode the demand for diesels up. . .and are now on the roller coaster going down, down, down. (You can imagine the scream. . . .)
The upside. More or less. According to Inovev, gasoline engines have a solid 58.8% of the market.
But here’s the thing: what are still “alternative” powertrains have, well, plenty of headroom.
Inovev puts the number of hybrids at 4.8%
Battery electric vehicles at 2.2%.
And plug-in hybrids just 1.1%
So maybe there is a touch of schadenfreude for the purveyors of diesel technology.
However, it is worth noting that Inovev has found that the hybrid number for the first half of 2019 was up 33.6%.
A young(ish) guy that I’ve known for a number of years, a man who spent the better part of his career writing for auto buff books and who is a car racer on the side, mentioned to me that his wife has a used Lexus ES Hybrid.
Mercedes has been putting diesels in vehicles since 1926. It has been offering them in the U.S. since 1949. And 2013 is seeing a range of offerings, including in its popular GLK SUV.
Chrysler pioneered the modern-day minivan more than 30 years ago and has been refining and improving that type of vehicle ever since.