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FULL ARTICLE | EDITORIAL 
Bosch rides to the rescue of dying diesel cars  
Peter Schmidt | Editor

Published: Fri, 18th May 2018 18:15:08 GMT
 

1809 AID NEWSLETTER EDITORIAL BOSCH DIESEL

"Whichever way recent diesel car sales trends in Western Europe are looked at, few autoindustry observers would disagree with the view that today the region’s diesel car market is looking very sickly. Moreover, while the house is burning, none of the carmakers appeared ready to extinguish the fire. Until now, that is. 

In retrospect, the carmakers have now twiddled their thumbs on the diesel issue for more than two years. 

And yet, automotive engineering giant Bosch, accompanied by uncharacteristic drum-rolls and fanfare, suddenly turns into the long-absent white knight riding to the rescue. 

Today Bosch says it believes it can save the diesel car from its death throes. 

Despite the diesel sector’s fast deteriorating health, on the face of it Europe’s carmakers blatantly failed to seek out and dispense life-saving medicine. 

Worse still, the signals sent out of late suggest that Europe’s car makers have thrown in the towel and have clearly no serious intention to find a cure. 

As a consequence, they appear to acknowledge the almost certain death of Europe’s once mighty diesel car market. 

Volkswagen Group, the self-confessed enfant terrible in this dieselgate scandal, at great expense, has incentivised the scrappage of older diesels. 

Ostensibly with the consequence that most takers of the bait dumped their diesels in exchange for petrol-fuelled cars. 

Fact is that the rate of deterioration seen of late in Europe’s diesel car market is now significantly faster than most experts would have dared to suggest only a year ago. 

Given that until now there was no notable effort to at least arrest the slide, chances are that from 2025 onwards, or perhaps even earlier, West Europe’s diesel car market may shrink to a mere shadow of its former self.

For Joe Public there is one clear as day signal being sent out by the carmakers: Any money spent on the rescue of the dying diesel car market is good money thrown after bad. 

Why? 

Europe’s carmakers, like a rabbit mesmerised by the headlights of a speeding car, now appear to have switched 180 degree on the direction the car market is likely to take.

Cast your eyes back just a couple of years. 

Then the industry appeared convinced that petrol and diesel powered cars could still run the roost for at least another decade or even more. 

However, following the bombshell news of VW’s diesel scandal in late 2015, leaving much of the shamed autoindustry lost for words, today’s industry visionaries appear to see an altogether different future. 

In consequence, if the automotive future is electric, for the discredited diesel car, there’s simply no point to keep the undertakers waiting. 

Meanwhile, for reasons best known to itself Bosch continued to burn the midnight oil by working feverishly, but in silence, on a cost-effective fix for the seemingly insoluble NOx handicap of the diesel engine.

On the one hand - probably in all sincerity - Bosch is adamant that from now on and for the first time genuine ‘Clean Diesels’ can help rather than hinder the green environmental course. 

For the first time, a genuine green diesel? 

Significantly, Bosch’s no-extra-cost fix can be in production in less than two years from now, Bosch says. 

An eternity, given today’s diesel image problem. On the other hand, however, the problem is that on the issue of credibility and environmental credentials – harmful NOx emissions in particular – much of the autoindustry lied to legislators and their customers for years. 

And just because mighty Bosch now rides to the rescue with a miraculous looking solution to the diesel engine’s NOx problem, Europe’s disillusioned new car buyers, after witnessing more than two years of heavy flak aimed at the diesel car, will be reluctant to stick to or return to a diesel fuelled car. 

And who can really blame them.  
 

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