Since the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal came to light, more scrutiny has been put on automakers and emissions standards. Recent real-world tests of European market diesel vehicles have revealed a number were 10 times over the legal limit for emissions. With stricter regulations coming into effect next year, automakers are reconsidering their investment in diesel.
Case in point is Renault. Reuters has learned from sources at the company that it believes diesel engines will disappear from their lineup due to stricter regulations. This comes from an internal meeting before a summer break where Renault went over the costs of meeting these stricter regulations. According to two people who were at the meeting, Renault's Chief Competitiveness Officer Thierry Bollore said the investment in diesel had dimmed significantly due to upcoming regulations.
"He said we were now wondering whether diesel would survive, and that he wouldn't have voiced such doubts even at the start of this year," said one of the people.
"Tougher standards and testing methods will increase technology costs to the point where diesel is forced out of the market."
Next year will see Europe adopting emission standards similar to the ones in the U.S. known as Euro 6b. This will become more stringent as time goes on. Two years after Euro 6b comes into affect, European regulators will begin doing real-world testing of fuel economy and emissions. The combination of these two things means automakers will need to spend more money to make their vehicles meet these standards.
"Everybody is backtracking on diesel because after 2017-18 it becomes more and more expensive," said Pavan Potluri, a powertrain analyst with consulting firm IHS Automotive.
Already, diesel engines have been disappearing from city cars. Sources say Renault predicts that diesel will disappear from all B-Segment and some C-Segment models by 2020.