Are car dealers guilty of causing the diesel decline?
Over the past 18 months, I haven’t been able to go out that much, I haven’t had the three foreign holidays that my wife and I treat ourselves to, and even Christmas was a muted affair due to the restrictions on movement. So as a result, my bank account is looking considerably healthier than it would normally do. After some discussion with my wife, we’ve decided to change both of our cars, which is something we usually only do once every five or six years.
I have a previous generation Ford Kuga, and my wife has a Fiesta, both of them diesel. While I rack up a large mileage each year visiting clients on the continent – 25,000 to 30,000 per annum – my wife’s car does a more modest mileage, but almost all of them motorway miles when she visits our daughter in Manchester. Both of us had decided that we wanted to stick with diesel, despite the negative comments that I see in the media, and the catty comments from our friends. Diesel suits our lifestyle, and we like the way that they drive. We’ve not had a single problem with blocked diesel particulate filters, and we put that down to a spirited driving manner.
I already knew that the Fiesta was no longer produced as a diesel, but hoped that there might be one or two old models in stock that we could steal for a song. That, unfortunately, proved not to be the case. My wife borrowed a petrol mild hybrid Fiesta for 24 hours and decided that she didn’t like the way that it drove, with the strange running characteristics of the three-cylinder engine a deal breaker.
When it came to discussing the replacement of my car, I was surprised at how hard the salesperson tried to get me to ditch diesel and opt for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid. Despite telling him that our driveway is not attached to the house, and so it would be impossible to charge up an electrified car, he persisted in trying to give me the hard sell. In the end I walked out, after he told me that a diesel car isn’t going to be worth anything in a year’s time and that I was wasting my money if I bought one.
On our way home, we drove past our local Peugeot and Citroën dealer and stopped by to have a look. Within an hour, I had signed up for a 3008, and my wife had bought a 308 at a tremendous price. We saw that there was a new 308 coming soon and used it to our advantage to negotiate a £6,000 discount off of my wife’s car. Previously with the Fiesta, there was never a diesel automatic option, but with the 308, she has been able to opt for it, and so on the 1st September she will be the proud owner of a 308 Allure Premium BlueHDi automatic and I’ve got a 3008 GT BlueHDi automatic with the same engine. To say that we are chuffed is an understatement, and it’s the first time that I have bought a different make of car since my teenage years. I had always thought of myself as a Ford man through-and-through, but the latest buying experience was too much to bear. Ford’s loss is Peugeot’s gain. To cap it all, the Peugeot garage offered me £1,200 more for my Kuga than the Ford dealer, and my wife’s car was valued at £250 more than previously offered. At the time of writing, we’ve got two weeks until we can take delivery of our new cars, and we’ve never been so excited in our lives. I think my wife is more pleased than I am!
The point of this letter is to say that if I was easily led, I could have believed the scaremongering stories that the salesperson was peddling, and I’m sure that buyers that aren’t quite so strong willed will be persuaded. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of the significant reasons why the diesel market share is nosediving.
Thanks for a great magazine and keep up the good work. You’ve kept me entertained during the dark days of Covid, and long may it continue.