VW Predicts a Comeback for Diesels

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller predicts diesels will see revived demand as consumers recognize they are eco-friendly and a “very comfortable drive concept.”

He also asserts that diesels, which are roughly 20% more fuel efficient than gasoline engines, remain the best way for carmakers to meet European carbon dioxide emission limits—at least until electric cars gain sufficient sales traction. Market analysts don’t expect that to happen for at least a decade.

Mueller’s bullish comments come as cities impose bans on older diesels, countries vow to eliminate diesels entirely and the auto industry launches a massive push for electrified powertrains.

The abrupt shift in attitudes was caused by the revelation in 2015 that VW rigged 11 million diesels to evade emission limits for nitrogen oxides. The scandal has since focused regulatory and public attention on excessive NOx emissions from diesels in general.

VW has budgeted some €24 billion ($30 million) to pay for fines, legal settlement, engine upgrades, vehicle buybacks and environmental restitution related to the 11 million diesels it rigged to evade pollution standards.