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Belgian sales of diesel cars in freefall
Sales of diesel vehicles in Belgium have plummeted as demand for electric cars rises.
While diesel vehicles accounted for almost 50% of cars delivered five years ago, only one in 10 new vehicles sold will be diesel-powered this year, RTBF reports.
This means just 30,000 diesel-powered cars have been sold since the start of the year, according to figures from the automotive sector.
“Customers have got used to not necessarily having diesel cars,” said Jean-Benoît De Castillo, manager of a car dealership in Wavre.
“There's so much talk about electrification and hybridisation that customers are looking for this type of engine instead.”
Other factors are having an impact as well, such as the cost of fuel at the pump and pollution standards.
There is also what Christophe Dubon, spokesman for Febiac, the Belgian federation of the car and cycle industry, refers to as "Dieselgate".
“Dieselgate in 2015 dealt a blow to the image of diesel,” Dubon said. “All these factors combined explain why diesel cars are virtually no longer being sold to private customers.”
Laurent Loyet, who owns several dealerships, says the attack on diesel-powered combustion engines is not entirely justified.
“If you look at the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, which have really become very low for diesel, it's still a very, very good product,” Loyet said.
“It offers a very wide range. We have vehicles that can go up to 1,000km on a full tank of diesel.”
But very few private customers are still opting for this type of engine, since three quarters of the diesel vehicles sold in Belgium this year are leased to companies.