Renault expects majority of its cars sold in Europe won't offer a diesel engine option. According to a Reuters report, Renault arrived at this conclusion after taking into account the costs involved in complying with the stricter European emission norms.
Ever since the Volkswagen emission scandal became public, diesel has faced a lot of flak from the public as well as government agencies. It is being reported that automobile companies are doubtful about diesel engines regaining popularity among car buyers. The Reuters report states that during an internal meeting held in July, the company's chief competitiveness officer, Thierry Bollore, had commented that the outlook for diesel investment had dimmed significantly.
Bollore had reportedly stated that Renault is now wondering if diesel would survive and he wouldn't have had such doubts at the start of this year. He said that the tougher standards and testing methods will ensure that the technology costs increase by such a significant margin that diesel will be forced to go off the market.
On its A-segment models, Renault no longer offers a diesel engine. The company feels that with the tougher Euro-VI emission norms, it won't make economical sense to offer diesel engines even in the B and C segments. It expects that these three segments won't have a diesel engine option by 2020. The A, B and C segments accounted for majority of the group's 1.6 million sales in 2015, and 60 per cent of them were diesels.
Owing to the Volkswagen emission scandal, the disparity in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission during laboratory and regular driving tests gained prominence in the public. From 2019, the emission tests will be conducted while vehicles are being driven on public roads in typical everyday conditions. This will require automobile manufacturers to equip their new vehicles with advanced emission treatment technologies. Which means this will increase diesel vehicle costs.
Also, with batteries getting cheaper and offering a longer range, electric vehicles are gaining prominence. In this scenario, it will be tougher for diesel engines to appeal to prospective car buyers.
In January this year, Renault's headquarters were raided by the French government's anti-fraud investigators as a part of a probe into vehicle emissions. At that time the government had said that preliminary tests had shown emission levels to be higher than the legal limits. Later in April, Renault made an official announcement that it would reduce NOx emissions from its diesel vehicles.