Report: Global Demand for Piston Engines Peaked in 2018

Worldwide sales of piston-powered cars last year are unlikely to be equaled ever again, says the Financial Times.

The London-based newspaper cites forecasters who previously believed the rise in electric and other zero-emission powertrains would cause growth in demand for pure piston power to peak by about 2022. Now analysts are moving up their forecasts because major markets in China, Europe and North America are cooling more quickly than expected.

Many analysts estimate that overall car sales in 2018 expanded slightly to about 95.5 million units. But they say total volume is likely to decline 1% in 2019 because of growth in the proportion of sales represented by vehicles with electrified powertrains.

Whether the crossover point arrives this year will depend on sales in China, which analysts say shrank in 2018. Barclays estimates that anything short of a 5% rebound in that market this year would be insufficient to raise piston sales to a new high in 2019.