Features
17 Jan 19

Diesel plummets in growing Belgian market

As the 97th edition of the Brussels Motor show prepares to open its doors, Belgian automotive association Febiac has been taking a look at the results from 2018. The first conclusion is that with over 549,600 registrations of new cars, 2018 was the second best year ever in Belgium.

The most significant news comes in the form of fuel types, however. Diesel sales started to drop as far back as 2012 in Belgium  and the trend has continued ever since. The figures are quite stark: at the end of 2011 sales of diesel-powered cars represented just over 75% of new car sales in the country, but in 2018 this proportion had dropped to some 35.5%. Putting this into numbers, and just comparing the two most recent years, a total of 253,000 diesel sales in 2017 dropped to just 195,000 in 2018 – a market share plummeting from 46.3% to 35.5%. Perhaps surprisingly, the highest proportion of diesel sales occurred in pollution-hit Brussels (photo) rather than the Flemish or Walloon regions.

It is quite clearly petrol which has benefited from the ongoing demonization of diesel – over the same two years sales of petrol cars rose from around 264,000 to around 322,000 units. This represents a market share increase from 48.2% to 58.5%.

Alternatively powered vehicles have also made progress over the past two years, with hybrid, electric, natural gas and LPG totalling 6% of all sales in 2018, against 5.4% in 2017. In terms of numbers, 32,586 units last year against 29,543 in 2017. The vast majority of these – over 24,000 in both cases – are hybrids.

Picture: European Parliament district, Brussels

Authored by: Tim Harrup