CEO Linda Jackson expresses concern for the future of diesel if fleet buyers follow private buyers in deserting the fuel
Jim Holder
12 February 2018

Global diesel sales will struggle to recover if fleet buyers follow private buyers in deserting the fuel, according to Citroën CEO Linda Jackson.

Highlighting that 75% of sales of the Citroën C3 Aircross, which went on sale in Europe in October, had been petrol-powered variants, Jackson said: “The signs are that private buyers are predominantly favouring petrol. Whether that can be turned around with a clearer explanation of the facts remains to be seen.

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“But if the fleet buyers who currently appear to be holding off buying opt to make the switch to petrol then it will be hard for diesel to recover. Something very dramatic is going to happen now for diesel to regain any kind of market share.”

Diesel sales in the UK fell 17% in 2017, with the drop-off accelerating dramatically in the second half of the year.

Jackson added that electric cars still have to prove their viability in the long term too. “I’m sure they are part of the solution, but there are still questions to answer, from who creates and pays for the infrastructure to the sustainability of lithium ion supplies to the cleanliness of how the electricity is created,” she said.

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Our Verdict

Citroen C3 Aircross 2018 review on the road

Does Citroën’s quirky junior crossover have the substance to match its style, or is that not enough to make an impact in a competitive class?

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12 February 2018
Back in the early to mid nineties, before the introduction of common rail injection and the dawn of co2 targets, diesel cars were nowhere near as popular as they are now. Can't remember what the market share was, but petrol took the vast majority of sales. Diesel cars were much poorer in terms of refinement economy and performance, many still being naturally aspirated. However diesel was still a perfectly viable option. I know with modern emissions standards being more stringent diesel engines are more expensive and complex, but I wonder how low the market share would need to get before it became unviable? I still think it is the best option for High mileage and for heavy vehicles such as vans and trucks, even for larger cars/suvs

12 February 2018
Actually back then PEUGEOT Citroen sales were close to 50% split between petrol and diesel for some models even back then, so good were their diesel engines relative to rivals.

12 February 2018

The key is the relative price of petrol and diesel. Traditionally diesel was much cheaper than petrol on the continent, which led to diesel cars being much more popular than in the UK, where the fuels have been priced much the same over time.

As long as diesel holds a cost per mile advantage over petrol for high mileage drivers, diesels will retain a market share.

12 February 2018

But buyers are always looking ahead worrying about depreciation. So all the crap swirling around diesel will taint buyers perceptions.

Steam cars are due a revival.

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