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Diesel still important, but not worth investing in: Peugeot

Peugeot is no longer investing in diesel - the company claims it's not worth it. (image credit: Santeri Viinamäki [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons)

Diesel is on the nose in Europe, and that's causing some of the region's biggest car manufacturers to turn their attention elsewhere - including PSA Peugeot Citroen.

Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato said at the 2018 Paris motor show that the company is no longer investing money in diesel technology, citing electrification as the main way the brand (and its parent company) is investing.

"At the moment we are putting our weight on EV, plug-in hybrid technology. The only guy who will stop diesel will be the customer," said Imparato.

"In North Africa now, you must sell diesel. In light commercial vehicles, you must sell diesel, even if in the future we will develop electric versions of LCVs. But now, tomorrow morning, if you buy an LCV, you buy a diesel.

"It is very important for us," he said, but clearly the market is changing.

"Everything is linked to CO2 emissions and diesel mix. More or less in Europe, the diesel mix is 40 per cent," he said, stating that it was previously as high as 70 per cent. But Imparato says the platforms the company has developed with plug-in hybrid technology at the forefront will enable a smooth transition away from diesel.

"We can switch from nothing to mainstream in a matter of months," he said. "When you consider your total cost of ownership (TCO) for a plug-in hybrid will be more or less at the same level as a diesel, and for fleet managers this will make for an easy decision to move from the diesel car to plug-in hybrid."

Peugeot future product specialist Laurent Blanchard said the downturn in diesel sales means it's not viable to continue to spend money on developing new engines with this fuel type.

"We won't stop our diesel engines - there are new diesel engines, one with 130 horsepower that we launched a year ago - and they will continue to be sold," he said.

"But we won't invest more in diesel engines because we prefer to invest in alternative energies such as PHEV or BEV, which are the technologies of the future and we prefer to invest in these."

Would you still consider a diesel car? Tell us what you think in the comments below.