Death of diesel? Car industry hits out at ‘demonisation’ of diesel cars

As one academic warns of diesel’s “slow death”, a Jaguar Land Rover boss says increased taxes are “difficult to fathom”

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The Government should be working more closely with the UK automotive industry, ensuring new policies are developed “without any surprises”.

Andy Goss, global sales director for Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), said while Jaguar sales were up 20 per cent in 2017, the company was: “Facing tough times in key markets such as the UK where consumer confidence and diesel taxes will hit us."

Drivers could save £380 per year by sticking with diesel

Goss expressed puzzlement at the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s decision to slap a one-off tax increase on new diesel cars in his latest Budget: “It is difficult to fathom the latest decision. It is counter intuitive." He added: “The more petrol cars that come on to the road, rather than diesel cars, means that CO2 emissions go up” – a trend Auto Express reported on last year.

Highlighting the importance of the automotive industry in the UK, Goss said: “We employ 40,000 people with thousands more in the supply chain… we are delivering huge benefits to the economy.” Goss said JLR would “expect the government to take a proper, hand-in-glove approach… working through policies without any surprises.”

Goss’ comments come as one academic warns diesel sales could account for just 15 per cent of the market by 2025, as concerns over emissions and bad PR push consumers towards petrol and electric cars – something reflected in last year’s sales figures, which saw 17 per cent fewer diesel cars sold compared to the previous year.

Professor David Bailey of Aston University, said: "Sales of diesels are set to fall by up to 10 per cent in 2018, and they could have as little as 30 per cent of the market by 2020 – shrinking rapidly to 15 per cent by 2025. And this is despite diesels accounting for 50 per cent or more of the market just a few years ago."

Professor Bailey is calling for the Government to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme, as he considers it is clear diesel is “dying a slow death”. 

Consumer confidence in diesel may have been swayed by reports linked to emissions and health, but the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has previously highlighted while road transport accounts for 50 per cent of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in London, diesel cars are responsible for just 12 per cent of NOx emissions in the capital.

Has the Government's rhetoric put you off buying a diesel car? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comments section below...

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