Insight: The demonisation of diesel continues

21 June 2017

21 June 2017

Is negative diesel press affecting values regionally in the UK?

There has been a lot of negative press recently about how bad the diesel engine is, and how London in particular is being seriously polluted by diesel fumes. There is a lot of misunderstanding with regards to the ′dirty diesel’ theory; it relates mainly to anything manufactured prior to Euro 5 & 6 engines. 

The latest vehicles are much cleaner than they have ever been, however, the UK motorist appears to be an easy target and yet again seems to be getting singled out as the root cause of the majority of the pollution, which is not believed to be the case. The Mayor of London has indicated that he wants to kill off diesel vehicles in London and the UK press have jumped on the bandwagon.

It has been suggested that as a result of the negative press coverage, some dealers and underwriters in the London area are extremely worried about taking anything diesel into their stock. If you live in Central London and don’t travel outside the area very often, then why would you have a diesel vehicle anyway? The main benefit of owning and running one is the additional fuel economy that you are able to achieve over a similar sized petrol engine model, in particular when travelling on an extended journey using the motorway network, sitting at a steady 60-70 mph, as the diesel engine will be hardly working at this speed and using very little fuel. Therefore should we be surprised that diesel is not so popular in and around the London area?

If you look elsewhere in the UK, to more rural areas that aren’t in the vicinity of a major city then diesel is still as popular as ever. Recent feedback to the Glass’s Editorial team from a number of car supermarkets and dealers from Central England, the North and into Scotland has suggested that whilst the diesel versus petrol question is being raised on a more frequent basis by customers, it remains only a conversation piece at this stage. However, could the negative press attention be having an effect on the retail value of diesels in the market?

Using data from Glass’s Rada product which can analyse retail asking prices by region, we see that diesel cars advertised over the last 12 months, show on the whole to have remained stable. In fact, it is Scotland where values have fallen the most and the majority of dealers in Scotland have said that they don’t really see a problem with diesels. So it is clear that whilst diesel cars remain in the spotlight and some individual segments are beginning to perform differently, the overall market remains consistent.