Kia has yet to decide whether or not to invest in next-generation diesel technology, as demand at the black pump continues to plummet.
The Korean firm still sees diesel as an important fuel for many car buyers, not only in emerging markets where it can remain dominant but also for buyers of larger cars such as SUVs in more developed regions where the fuel is most under attack.
Kia’s chief operating officer, Ho Sung Song, said that the firm was now mulling whether to invest in the next generation of diesel complying with Euro 7 rules, whose implementation date or standard has yet to be determined. However, he said Kia had not yet made a decision and one wasn’t necessarily imminent. Song believes that the worst of the big slump for diesel was over, and that things should now stabilise. Indeed, he pointed out that buyers could even return to the fuel given its better economy, when much of the alternative remains downsized turbocharged petrol engines that are among the least impressive for real-world fuel economy compared with official figures.
Song also said much of the conversation was about NOx emissions, and CO2 needed to be factored back into the argument. The UK, for example, has recently seen an increase in average CO2 emissions for new cars sold for the first time in a generation as buyers turn their backs on diesel and don’t have a huge choice of low-CO2 electrified models to turn to.
Kia is committed to 19 new electrified models or variants by 2022, a strategy that majors on plug-in hybrids in Europe as flagships and parallel hybrids in the US in addition to more dedicated electric cars such as the Niro EV, which launches in the UK next February.
The new Ceed has launched with diesel engines in addition to petrol, but that car will be offered in electrified form by the midway point of its five-year life cycle.