Volkswagen CEO Predicts Diesel “Renaissance”
Although Volkswagen is spending $30 billion in the aftermath of its emissions scandal, the company’s CEO isn’t giving up on diesels. In fact, Matthias Mueller even predicts a diesel “renaissance” is coming.
“Diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realize that it was a very comfortable drive concept,” VW boss Matthias Mueller said at the Geneva Motor Show, reports Bloomberg. “Once the knowledge that diesels are eco-friendly firms up in people’s minds, then for me there’s no reason not to buy one.”
Mueller’s comments seem surprising given an earlier statement he made three months ago that government subsidies for diesel fuel should be reconsidered to bolster the acceptance of electric cars. And a Reuters report last year said Porsche was mulling whether it would drop diesel engines from its lineup altogether.
Of course, there are reasons not to be so optimistic about the future of diesels. Consumers in Germany are turning away from diesels, which now make up just a third of car sales instead of half as they were before the VW scandal broke. Meanwhile, countries including France, the U.K., and China have committed to banning internal combustion engines in the coming years. Toyota is one automaker that is now pulling back on diesels; it will stop selling diesel cars in Europe by the end of the year.
In the wake of dieselgate, VW has been betting big on electric cars. It’s introducing a new electric hatch based on the I.D. concept in 2019, followed by an electric crossover, an electric reincarnation of the Microbus, and an electric sedan. But unfortunately, EVs today don’t offer the same range advantages as diesels. As hinted at by VW brand chief Herbert Diess, diesels will play an important role in meeting emissions goals right now. “We need diesel to get to the C02 goals,” Diess said. “Electric vehicles in many cases won’t keep frequent drivers happy.”