2018 (Half Year) Europe: Diesel Car Sales per EU and EFTA Country

January to June 2018: Italy overtook Germany as the largest country market for diesel passenger vehicles in Europe.

Mercedes-Benz X350d at Geneva Auto Show 2018

Italy, Germany, France and Britain were the largest markets for diesel cars in Europe during the first half of 2018. However, diesel car sales contracted in almost all European countries and the market share of diesel passenger vehicles in the European Union (EU) and EFTA shrunk to 37%.

Diesel Car Market in Europe & EFTA in 2018 (First Half)

The European new car market for diesel engine cars contracted by 16% to 3,116,2001 cars during the first half of 2018. During the first semester of 2017, over 600,000 more diesel cars were sold in the European Union and EFTA countries than during the first six months of 2018.

The market share of diesel cars in the European Union and EFTA countries fell from 45.2% during the first half of 2017 to 36.5% during the first six months of 2018. The market share of petrol cars increased by 7% to 56% of the European new car market during the first half of 2018.

The move away from diesel cars due to environmental concerns and uncertainty about future regulations (and related car valuations) was Europe wide. During the first half of 2017, diesel car sales were down in all EU and EFTA countries except Rumania, Bulgaria and Estonia. At the same time, the total European new car market expanded by nearly 3%.

Diesel Car Sales per EU and EFTA Country in 2018 (Q2 & HY)

New diesel passenger vehicle registrations per EU and EFTA countries during the second quarter of 2018 and the first half of 2018 were as follows according to the ACEA:

MarketQ2/2018Q2/2017ChangeHY 2018HY2017Change
CZECH REPUBLIC23,87628,971-17.645,55556,585-19.5
UNITED KINGDOM187,998253,467-25.8428,612613,985-30.2
EUROPEAN UNION1,541,9301,824,953-15.53,116,2013,721,908-16.3
EU (New Members)110,307121,333-9.1215,008237,007-9.3
EU + EFTA1,574,7231,867,246-15.73,177,9983,801,620-16.4
EU15 + EFTA1,464,4161,745,913-16.12,962,9903,564,613-16.9
Source: ACEA

Largest Diesel Car Market in Europe in 2018 (First Half)

Italy overtook Germany as Europe’s largest market for diesel cars during the first half of 2018. Diesel car sales in Italy were down by 6% but the German market for diesel cars contracted by a fifth during the same period.

The market for diesel cars in the UK all but collapsed during the first six months of 2018. Diesel car sales in Britain were down by 30% – only Norway saw a larger decline – resulting in Britain slipping to fourth largest diesel car market in Europe. France moved into third despite diesel sales declining by 12%.

The rest of the top ten diesel car markets in Europe remained unchanged from a year ago. In Spain and Belgium, diesel car sales were down by around a fifth. The contraction was less pronounced in Sweden, Portugal and Poland. However, the Swedish car market is likely to contract sharply during the third quarter of 2018 – a large change in taxation on non-electric cars from July brought many purchases forward. (Petrol car sales in Sweden were up 42% during the first half of 2018 and 63% during the second quarter of 2018.)

The move away from diesel cars in Europe is hitting the German manufacturers of especially larger vehicles hard. Companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Porsche and VW invested heavily in diesel engine technology and petrol alternatives for especially larger SUVs are a less attractive option. Electric cars have been announced and shown but largely not yet offered for sale.

See also: Electric Car Sales per European Union and EFTA Country

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience in online writing. His best-selling cars website has been reporting car sales statistics since 2008 with classic car auction prices focusing on the most expensive automobiles sold at public auctions in the past decade. He also owns the travel websites European-Traveler.com and Lake Geneva Switzerland. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Finance from the University of London.