Diesel still has a future in Ireland, according to figures in the motoring industry. A number of car distributors responded to a recent Irish Independent study about what the future has in store for motoring and most of them agreed that diesel was still a viable option for motorists.
The survey posed questions to car distributors, including Audi Ireland, BMW Group Ireland, Ford Ireland, Honda Hyundai. All distributors were asked ‘Is diesel dead?’ and none agreed that it was. While they acknowledged problems with diesel car sales, most believe their customers will continue to buy diesel vehicles.
Audi Ireland predicted that diesel would remain important throughout the decade, while BMW Group argued that some new diesel cars were less polluting than petrol. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA Group) acknowledged that they expected a significant fall in purchases of diesel vehicles but no-one was discounting diesel just yet.
The consensus among distributors appears to be that diesel remains a good choice for commercial vehicles and drivers of SUVs and other large vehicles. Diesel is also a better choice for long distance drivers.
The report comes as governments across the world are moving to ban diesel vehicles. Many European countries plan to phase out diesel engines and some new taxes have been introduced to discourage the purchase of diesel vehicles. France and the UK will ban diesel by 2040, while countries like the Netherlands and Norway are encouraging drivers to invest in hybrid and electric cars.
The Irish Independent survey had good news about hybrid and electric vehicles, with a notable increase in the numbers on Irish roads. Audi Ireland is predicting an increase in electric car sales over the next five years. Plug in cars are also expected to become more common.
However, distributors noted that the popularity of electric and hybrid cars will depend on whether the infrastructure for the vehicles is in place. The installation of new charging stations will be essential if motorists are to switch from diesel and petrol to electric and mixed fuel. Growth in non-traditional vehicles is expected to be slower than in other European markets and access to charging stations will be a key issue.
Imports are also expected to rise next year but there are dangers from the UK leaving the European Union. It is not yet known what impact Brexit will have on the Irish economy, but any negative effects will be felt by the motoring industry. Distributors believe imports may become less attractive in the fallout from Brexit.