Climate Action

German diesel car sales follow UK in falling off a cliff

New figures from the German automotive association KBA have shown a drop off in sales of diesel cars, topping off a poor run of news for European car manufacturers.

  • 06 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

New figures from the German automotive association KBA have shown a drop off in sales of diesel cars, topping off a poor run of news for European car manufacturers.

Sales of diesel dropped by an astonishing 25 percent in March, compared to the same time last year. This follows similar declines of 19.5 percent in February and 17.6 percent in January.

However, March was the first month since a federal court in Leipzig ruled in favour of environmental campaigners that diesel cars could sometimes be banned to prevent air pollution. It’s not clear what impact the verdict will have in the long-term, but consumer confidence appears to have been shaken.

The news follows data from the UK which showed diesel sales have declined by 37 percent in one year. Reuters also reports that sales in Italy fell by 5.8 percent, but increased by 2.1 percent in Spain.

“For the time being, new diesel sales will not recover…rather, the downtrend looks set to continue in coming months,” Peter Fuss, a car specialist at EY in Germany, told the Reuters news agency.

KBA also published figures that showed electric cars increased by 73 percent; hybrids were up 45.4 percent and plug-in 31.9 percent.

The boost in sales for electric vehicles have been prompted by tighter regulations against more polluting vehicles in response to climate change and air quality concerns. The Volkswagen scandal in 2015 has also led manufacturers to move away from diesel. The car company was found to have manipulated technology to meet emissions standards during testing.

Overall, car registrations in the country were also down by 3.4 percent at 347,433, but were up by 4 percent for the first three months of the year.