The smaller the car, the less reason for choosing diesel, especially when the additional cost new is factored in – not forgetting the strides forward in petrol engine economy.
Used car buyers are certainly not currently hungry for small diesels and our research is proving that they will pay little or no more than an equivalent petrol version.
It is interesting to look at sales figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the petrol/diesel mix of new registrations. Not long ago, the thinking among manufacturers was that the ratio would be around 3:1 in favour of petrol but, as we all know, this has been reversed in some cases when it comes to large cars.
However, small cars are a different story. Looking at year-to-date figures to the end of April, Ford sold a total of 34,225 Fiestas, of which 3,284 were diesel. Fiat sold 665 Ideas, with only 79 of these the diesel model. It is a similar story with Vauxhall, with just 877 diesels out of a total of 7,970 Merivas sold.
Toyota is showing even smaller proportions of small diesels. Of 13,678 Yaris registrations, only a tiny proportion of around 1,100 have a diesel engine. The end customer is now aware of the sheer efficiency of small petrol engines so this is unlikely to change without influence from some new and unforeseen factor.