Exclusive: Renault sees diesel disappearing from most of its European cars

Tue Sep 6, 2016 10:40am EDT
 
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By Laurence Frost and Gilles Guillaume

PARIS (Reuters) - Renault (RENA.PA: Quote) expects diesel engines to disappear from most of its European cars, company sources told Reuters, after the French automaker reviewed the costs of meeting tighter emissions standards following the Volkswagen scandal.

The sober reassessment was delivered at an internal meeting before the summer break. It shows how, a year after VW (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) admitted engineering software to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests, the repercussions are forcing major European car makers to rewrite strategic plans that will shape their futures for years to come.

Renault and domestic rival Peugeot (PEUP.PA: Quote), both heavily invested in diesel technology, initially scrambled to defend its future viability after the VW crisis erupted.

But in the July meeting, Renault's Chief Competitiveness Officer Thierry Bollore said the diesel investment outlook had dimmed significantly, according to two people who were present.

"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," the source summarized Bollore as saying.

A Renault spokesman declined to comment.

Diesel engines, pricier but more efficient than gasoline, had already vanished from the smallest 'A'-segment vehicles like Renault's Twingo well before VW's so-called 'dieselgate', as their extra expense outstripped savings on fuel.   Continued...

 
Raindrops cover the logo of French car manufacturer Renault on a automobile seen in Paris, France, January 14, 2016.    REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo