By on October 25, 2008

TTAC called it over a year ago: diesel market share in Europe was destined to drop because of the narrowing gap in fuel consumption with the new “downsized” turbo-charged gasoline engines. And so it has come to pass. According to Auto Motor und Sport [print], oil burners’ share of the 2008 German new car market’s down to 30.6 percent, year-to-date. The fact that diesel now costs about the same as gas in Germany, due to lower taxes for diesel, also plays into the arithmetic. But the consumption numbers (ECE combined) for these two almost identically powered Golf IV versions really tell the tale: 140hp TDI – 5.4L/100km (43.56mpg); 160hp TSI – 6.0L/100km (39.2mpg). The TDI’s consumption advantage is down to a mere 10 percent. But the diesel engine costs considerably more. The 1.4 liter TSI engine, which combines a very diesel-like torque curve with smoothness and rev-ability, would make a terrific budget GTI in the new Rabbit.

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8 Comments on “German Diesel Engine Market Share Craters...”

  • avatar
    John Horner

    No kidding. When comparable gasoline engines get within 10% of a diesel fuel economy numbers the gig is up on diesels. Really dumbed down mild hybrids like the Saturn Aura are able to turn in 10% or better improvements over their gasoline engine counterparts and probably have similar cost adders to a diesel power-train. My latent diesel fanboy spurs are going to have to go to charity I’m afraid :(. Or maybe I’ll sell ’em on eBay.

  • avatar

    But that’s claimed MPG – I’ll bet real world numbers would favor the diesel in most cases, the copious torque means you can be gentle with the pedal and still move.

  • avatar

    Nice. Finally less of a need to hold ones nose when visiting Europe.

  • avatar

    Isn’t the price of diesel high everywhere? That could explain the lower sales.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    davey49, Diesel is taxed lower in Europe, so it has been cheaper than gas. With the increase in global diesel prices, diesel and gas are now about equal.

  • avatar

    Diesel fuel IS cheaper than gasoline. Taxes are what brings it up to be equal or more expensive.

    Diesel is oil, barely refined. Back in the last big recession and gas-price hike (the late 70s, early 80s) when Diesel made its one and only attempt at being used in passenger cars here in America, part of the attraction was the low price of Diesel compared to gasoline. In the early 80s, when gasoline was around $1.20 a gallon, Diesel was half the price: 60¢ a gallon.

    Taxes have been raised here in the USA many many times on Diesel since then. Mainly because it is easy to tax things that VOTERS don’t see.


  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer


    Diesel IS NOT cheaper than gasoline:

    Today’s commodity prices (untaxed): unleaded gasoline – $1.48; heating oil (essentially diesel)-$1.97.

    Diesel (or heating oil) is more than just crude oil “barely refined”. And it takes more oil to produce a gallon of diesel than gasoline, which is why it has more energy (and CO) than a like quantity of gas.

    Diesel is more expensive because global demand for it has grown faster than for gas. And refineries are set up to produce a certain mix of diesel and gas, which can’t be changed easily.

    The only reason diesel WAS cheaper in Europe recently is because the taxes are lower on diesel. In the US, taxes are the same, which is why diesel has been so much more expensive for a number of years now.

  • avatar

    This report paints a somewhat skewed picture of diesel in Europe. Overall, in Europe, 50% of all cars sold are diesel (that number is on the upswing, not the decline). With a 30% energy efficiency advantage over traditional petrol engines, diesel is far better. As for the smell, modern diesel engines run far cleaner than those that many Americans got used to in the 1980s.

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