The infamous scandal at the VW Group triggered the beginning of the end for diesel engines in Europe. Not only that, but increasingly stricter emissions regulations are making oil burners even more vulnerable to extinction, hence why many automakers have already stopped offering diesels on smaller cars. The June sales numbers released by the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association don't lie – demand for diesel cars is on a downward trend.

In European Union countries, the market share for diesels contracted to only 13.4 percent last month, which is considerably less than the 17.4 percent achieved in June 2022. The weaker demand allowed purely electric vehicles to surpass diesels for the first time ever. Indeed, zero-emission cars accounted for 15.1 percent of the total share, or up from 10.7 percent in June 2022. Self-charging hybrids were also more popular than diesels thanks to a market share of 24.3 percent while PHEVs represented 7.9 percent of total demand, or down from 8.2 percent in June 2022.

ACEA

The ACEA study shows that petrol remains king for the time being, with more than a third of all sales, at 36.3 percent. That translates to 379,067 cars, or 11 percent more than in Jun 2022. Even though the sales numbers are up, the market share actually went down from 38.5 percent to 36.3 percent due to the rise of EVs.

Even though diesels are gradually falling out of favour in the European Union, ACEA notes a significant boost in sales of 10.3 percent in Germany as well as in Central European markets. Romania had the largest growth (percentage-wise) in June 2023 compared to the same month last year, with sales of new diesel cars increasing by a whopping 22.4 percent.

Overall, new car sales (all types of powertrains) jumped in the EU during the first six months of 2023 by 17.9 percent to 5.4 million vehicles but that’s still 21 percent lower compared to the first half of 2019, before the pandemic. ACEA points out that supply chain bottlenecks are less and less of an issue, although people still must wait a long time for some models.

With Euro 7 regulations slated to come into effect in 2025, we expect automakers to accelerate the transition to EVs. In other words, there will be fewer pure ICE cars on sale. The VW Group has warned that B-segment cars are in jeopardy as tweaking their engines to comply with the tougher legislation might make these models too expensive.

From 2035, automakers active in the EU won't be able to sell new cars that generate harmful emissions.