European Diesel Decline Has Begun

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
european diesel decline has begun

We often get accused of diesel-bashing. But there's no getting around the fact that the decline of the diesel market penetration in Europe has begun. With diesel now costing the same as gasoline in Germany (we should be so lucky), the higher up-front costs of most diesel versions just doesn't pan out. Auto, Motor und Sport (print version only) has done an analysis of the minimum km per year required to amortize various diesel versions of popular cars. A few examples: 38k km (23k miles) for the BMW X-5; 30k km (18.3k miles) for the Opel Corsa, 25k km (15.3k miles for the MB E-class). In may, diesel's Eurozone market share dropped to 44 percent, from 47 percent in April. One study predicts that diesels will eventually lose fully half their market share. Another study shows that at least one-fourth of current German diesel drivers are seriously considering switching to a gas car with their next purchase. It looks like the party's over before the States could find the address.

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  • 66Nova 66Nova on Jul 18, 2008

    So, um, how come Bloomberg's article about European sales in June says Toyota took a big hit (along with other Asian makes) because they didn't offer enough diesels? ``Asian carmakers are just falling off a cliff, because they don't offer as many diesels'' as their European competitors, said London-based Credit Suisse analyst Arndt Ellinghorst. I'm not saying they're right, but if they aren't, why DID the Asian makers take such a dive? Toyota dove 18 percent despite the introduction of a new compact hatchback (Auris). Honda fell 22 percent!

  • Zenith Zenith on Jul 18, 2008

    First of all, the 400 lbs of urea proposed for the Mercedes BlueTech diesel emissions control is NOT ACID. Urea,like the ammonia from which it is derived is a BASE. Second, the Mercedes system won't work due to the fact that urea,at concentrations as low as 40% salts out @ 30 degrees F PLUS. The Mercedes system must use TINCTURES of urea to be usable at winter temps. Might as well just use plain water. Of course Daimler can super-insulate and/or heat the urea tank, but this adds to weight and energy consumption. Even if you could keep 40% urea above 30 at all times, the venturi effect in the nozzles may well cool it below 30 and eventually salt out the nozzles. How to clear the nozzles? Best done with steam. Gonna put small boilers in the cars? Third, when salted-out urea is steam heated, ammonia is liberated. Can you imagine the stink in a crowded parking garage if dozens of diesels go into steam-out cycle at once? And what of the inevitable overpressurization of a mini-boiler whose electric heater's thermostat--built by the lowest bidder to minimal standards-- causes a relief to lift in,lets say,Manhattan at rush hour. The result could be a mass panic of people trying to escape the "car bomb".

  • Albert Albert on Jul 18, 2008

    @zenith: why wouldn't it work??? It already works! All European truck manufacturers have adopted the urea based system (SCR-catalysts) to achieve EURO V emissions, although MAN and Scania say they will introduce EGR-only systems soon (just as they use for EURO IV, only more recirculating exhaust gas). The urea is sold under the name AdBlue at every truck pump. How it works? Look at or how stuff works.

  • Zenith Zenith on Jul 19, 2008

    Checked out the two sites you suggested Albert, and found nothing that tells of the minimum concentration of urea necessary to make the system work. Remember that 40% salts out at +30F. Nothing in either source about keeping the tank warm and agitated--don't agitate and the stuff stratifies into its components--urea and water. Nothing about clearing salt from nozzles. It's true that while the engine runs, the nozzles stay at exhaust system temperature--well above salt-out temp for concentrations of 80% or more, but what happens when the the car is parked and the exhaust cools? The salt won't just melt back out as the system warms back up, I can see this system as useful for an 18-wheeler engine or trailer reefer unit that never gets turned off or taxi/police service where the vehicle runs nearly 24/7, but for a commuter car that sits approx 8 daylight hours and approx 12 nighttime hours in mid-winter-no way.