Diesel-powered cars continue to grow in popularity in Western Europe, with diesel cars accounting for every two out of three vehicles sold in France in 2002.

Diesel-powered cars continue to grow in popularity in Western Europe, with diesel cars accounting for every two out of three vehicles sold in France in 2002.

According to a recent study by automotive technology developer Ricardo, diesel-powered light vehicles now account for 40 per cent of new vehicle sales in Europe, up from 28 per cent four years ago. The company said diesel is gaining an average of three percentage points of penetration each year.

In 2000, diesel car sales across Europe reached 4,76 million vehicles, a market penetration of around 32 per cent.

In 2001, sales increased by a further 12,1 per cent to 5,33 million, with market penetration rising to almost 36 per cent.

The French diesel car market increased to 1,35 million cars in 2002 and diesel penetration jumped to 63 per cent. Diesel cars account for almost two out of every three cars sold, while the sales of petrol-powered cars fell by 19 per cent. In Germany, diesel sales reached 1,24 million and penetration increased to 38 per cent, while petrol car sales fell by eight per cent.

In Belgium about 64 per cent of all the cars sold were diesel, while in Spain it accounted for 59 per cent. Sales of diesel cars in Austria and Luxembourg also exceed those for petrol cars.

Consumer demands for better fuel economy, pressure on carmakers to reduce CO2 emissions and the introduction by manufacturers of more advanced diesel engine technology are helping the increase in sales of diesel-powered passenger vehicles.

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Original article from Car