Diesel doubts making car buyers think twice

Concerns about taxes and future resale are making some car buyers think twice about buying a diesel model, new research suggests.

An estimated 4 million drivers remain convinced that diesel is the right option for them and will be opting for a diesel car next (13%).

However, Close Brothers Motor Finance found that a third of diesel drivers (33%) were concerned that they would have to pay more tax for having a diesel car, while 19% feared they would not be able to sell their car or trade it in for a new one.

Over a quarter of diesel drivers (27%) said they are holding off buying a car this year due to uncertainty caused by changing diesel legislation. The same proportion were put off by the uncertainty of the cost of owning a diesel car, and a third (33%) had concerns about the increasing cost of fuel.

It comes as new diesel sales alone are down 20.6% so far this year.

Dealers have noticed the shift in buying trends, with half (52%) seeing an increase in the number of customers wanting more support when considering buying a diesel car, 37% reporting fewer diesel sales and 32% changing stock to react to changes in the diesel market.
A diesel car being refilled

The research also revealed that fuel type is now the second most important consideration for drivers considering buying a new car, taking over from how economical the car is to run. The price of the car remains the top concern.

Seán Kemple, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, commented: “Low-CO2 diesel cars were not long ago hailed as the best option for drivers.

This was the fuel that cleverly managed to offer lower fuel consumption, exhaust emissions and running costs for higher miles-per-gallon fuel economy. And then, all of a sudden, we went from one extreme to the other, with an over-simplified message from the Government effectively demonising all diesel cars. The UK has since fallen out of love with diesel.”

The survey findings highlight the problem with an over-simplified message, Kemple said.

“A diesel car may well be the right option — both economically and environmentally speaking — for some drivers, particularly those who regularly do long distances.”

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