Decline in diesel car sales offset by more demand for petrol; implications for climate targets

Brussels, 28 September 2017 – Diesel’s market share in the EU-15 fell from 50.2% to 46.3% of new car registrations in the first half of 2017. In absolute numbers, 152,323 less diesel cars were sold. This drop was offset by an increase in the sale of petrol vehicles. Auto makers caution that this shift to petrol engines with higher CO2 values will pose additional challenges to meeting future CO2 reduction targets.

For the first time since 2009, petrol vehicles have overtaken diesel to become the most sold car type in the EU-15. Petrol vehicles now account for 48.5% of new passenger car sales, up from 45.8% a year ago, which translates into 328,615 extra petrol cars sold year-on-year. Electrically-chargeable vehicles accounted for 1.3% of total car sales (a market share which remains stable), hybrids for 2.6%, and cars powered by propane or natural gas for 1.3%.

“Alternative powertrains will undoubtedly play an increasing role in the transport mix, and all European manufacturers are investing heavily in them,” stated ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert. “To this end, more needs to be done to encourage consumers to buy alternatively-powered vehicles, for instance by putting in place the right incentives and deploying recharging infrastructure across the EU.”

“In the meantime, however, as diesel cars emit significantly less CO2 than equivalent petrol-powered vehicles, they will have to be part of the gradual transition to low-carbon vehicles, acting as a ‘bridge’ technology.”

Jonnaert added: “Policy makers need to be aware that a sudden shift from diesel technology to petrol will lead to an increase in CO2 emissions, given that the market penetration of alternative powertrains remains low.”

APV = Alternatively-powered vehicles
HEV = Hybrid electric vehicles
ECV = Electrically-chargeable vehicles


About ACEA

  • The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers: BMW Group, CNH Industrial, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Ferrari, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Jaguar Land Rover, Renault Group, Stellantis, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
  • Visit www.acea.auto for more information about ACEA, and follow us on www.twitter.com/ACEA_auto or www.linkedin.com/company/ACEA/.
  • Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director, cm@acea.auto, +32 485 88 66 47.

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About the EU automobile industry

  • 14.6 million Europeans work in the auto industry (directly and indirectly), accounting for 6.7% of all EU jobs.
  • 11.5% of EU manufacturing jobs – some 3.7 million – are in the automotive sector.
  • Motor vehicles are responsible for €398.4 billion of tax revenue for governments across key European markets.
  • The automobile industry generates a trade surplus of €74 billion for the EU.
  • The turnover generated by the auto industry represents more than 8% of the EU’s GDP.
  • Investing €62 billion in R&D annually, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest private contributor to innovation, accounting for 33% of total EU spending.
Content type Press release
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