'We must not always be on the backfoot on environmental issues. We have a determination to take the lead on environmental issues and redress the balance,' he said. 'We must take the lead and show that the progress we have made, and will continue to make, in engine technology has and will make a real difference in air quality even if there is a significant traffic growth.'
Fleet diesel sales have dropped from a record high of 216,246 in 1994 to 203,626 last year with Peugeot attributing much of that decline to 'ill-informed environmental comment'. The French manufacturer believes continuing improvements in diesel technology will see a rise in diesel sales with fleet and leasing director John Taylor saying: 'We believe the way forward will be diesel based. The most practical solution to the environmental issues is diesel.'
That view comes despite Peugeot revealing that it will shortly start selling liquefied petroleum gas-powered versions of the 306 and 406 in the UK. Peugeot and Citroen's new 2.0-litre HDi common rail diesel engines will initially power the 406 and Xantia respectively, but ultimately 90bhp and 110bhp units will find their way into other models across the two marques.