As consumers continue to react to the emissions scandal, sales of diesel cars in Western Europe are set to fall under 50% this year, says a leading forecasting group. This puts diesel sales at their lowest market share since 2009.
The figures have been calculated from the sales figures of 17 different European countries, and were measured over the first nine months of 2016. LMC Automotive – the company who conducted the research – predicts that diesel’s share of the market will fall 2.6% to 49.3% this year, the fastest rate of decline for almost a decade.
The forecast is the strongest barometer so far that diesel is suffering a consumer backlash in the aftermath of the VW emissions scandal, which saw the German carmaker admitting that around 11 million of their vehicles worldwide were fitted with software capable of masking poisonous emissions during testing.
2009 aside, sale of diesel engine cars have always exceeded 50% as far back as 2005 – this means that 2016 is set to be the lowest figure for over a decade.
The VW scandal brought diesel car emissions to the forefront of buyer’s minds, with other manufacturers suffering as a result.
The LMC report for September said: “It looks like 2016 will turn out as we expected; the first time for many years that diesel share will account for less than one-half of all car sales in the region.”
The sale of diesel cars has been dropping since 2011, where they reached a peak of 55.7%, according to figures released by LMC.
Between 2011 and 2015, the diesel share of the market has gradually declined at an average of 0.95% per annum.
This year, it is expected to fall by 2.6%.
Al Bedwell, global power-train director at LMC said: “We won’t know for a few more years whether this is the tipping point. But it would be naive to say that the VW scandal had no impact at all.”
Sales are expected to continue falling, as emissions tests become more stringent, and manufacturers struggle to keep within parameters.