As a ninth Volkswagen employee has been charged in the US over VW’s use of a diesel cheat device for emissions tests, new VW boss Herbert Diess – because they’re getting through them – has said, with mastery of understatement: “It’s due in part to us that diesel has wrongfully fallen into disrepute.” Ja. No kidding, Herbert.
It’s something they might be particularly ruing in Solihull and Sunderland, where the downturn in diesel sales (demand in March was down by more than a third on the same month last year) has hit Land Rover and Nissan so hard that 1000 contract staff will be laid off at the former, and ‘hundreds’ are expected to go at the latter.
Nissan has the consolation that, in the Juke and Qashqai, it is making cars on Wearside that can “transition to a new range of powertrains”. The natural life cycle of its models is part of its downturn, the next Leaf will production volumes to recover. But none of these things will be of consolation if you end up jobless.
Land Rover, meanwhile, is not alone in making cars for which ‘powertrain transitioning’ is not so straightforward. It makes cars that diesels suit best.