German diesel car sales plunge again in March
There has been another steep decline in diesel-car sales in Germany in March.
The acceleration in the decline comes in the first month after a court ruled that cities can ban vehicles to tackle pollution.
Germany is Europe’s largest auto market and sales of diesel-powered cars have plunged by a quarter last month.
An automotive watchdog in Germany added that there was a 19.5 percent decline in February and 17.6 percent decline in January.
Germany’s top administrative court ruled in February that cities have the right to ban the most polluting diesel vehicles as they struggle to improve air quality damaged by nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, known to cause respiratory disease.
The plunge in diesel car sales is now so pronounced that car manufacturers including Volkswagen and Daimler have extended incentives for buyers of new diesel cars.
These incentives do not seem to be stemming the fears among motorists in Germany who are moving away from diesel at an increasing rate.
Analyste have said that possible restrictions and short supplies of vehicles with the latest Euro 6d generation of diesel engines will weigh on sales in coming months. Peter Fuss, a senior partner and automotive specialist in consultancy EY’s German practice, said:
“For the time being, new diesel sales will not recover. Rather, the downtrend looks set to continue in coming months,”
Fuss added, predicting the share of diesels of Germany’s overall auto market would sink towards 25 percent from the current 31 percent.
The global backlash against diesel cars broke out after Volkswagen (VW) admitted in 2015 to cheating U.S. exhaust tests. The scandal has spread across the industry and has boosted investment in electric vehicles.
Total registrations of diesel cars in Germany fell 3.4 percent to 347,433 passenger cars, because of two fewer selling days, though first-quarter registrations increased 4 percent to 878,611 vehicles, confirming what an auto industry source told Reuters.
Sales in Spain were up 2.1 percent in March but fell 5.8 percent in Italy, with diesel registrations continuing their decline in both markets, according to analysts.