‘Diesel is not dead’ – so says the VW Group chairman, Matthias Muller, and he believes it’s up to the car industry to change the public’s increasingly poor perception of it as a fuel.

At the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen revealed plans to launch 80 new electric models across the brand by 2025. Despite the ambitious plans towards electrification, Muller believes the ongoing sale of conventional petrol and diesel engines is integral to the success of the brand.

“We are in a period of transition, and we must bridge – and fund – that transition by continuing to sell the latest diesel and petrol engines,” said Muller, who outlined a 20 billion euro (£18bn) investment plan into e-mobility. “Today’s engines can contribute to much cleaner air quality, and it is a truth that those profits are what will fund our investments.”

In recent months, the sales of diesel engines have plummeted due to a number of reasons. The VW emissions ‘cheat’ scandal has been largely to blame for the low levels of public opinion, and a number of global cities have announced future bans on cars using the fuel. When asked if he feels the fuel type can recover in the eyes of the public, Muller said: “I understand why the public opinion is where it is on diesel, but the fact is the latest technologies have a lot to give. It is up to us to persuade the customers and regulators of the benefits; we must earn their trust. But it is never too late to do that.”

Muller also admitted for the first time that the Dieselgate scandal, was most likely the result of VW’s previous all-conquering success, saying: “Maybe after 10 to 20 years of continuous success we got complacent, or pursued new goals too enthusiastically.

“We are still embroiled in that, and I cannot see an end, but we must keep working.”

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