Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. could wind up backtracking on the company’s earlier pledge to eliminate diesel from its passenger cars in Europe by 2022.
In a conversation on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show, FCA CEO Mike Manley indicated that the company could reconsider its decision to eliminate diesel engines from its passenger car models if public demand for the vehicles remains strong.
“We don’t want to say we got rid of diesel, and by the way, it also came with a 15%, 20%, 30% drop in our sales,” Manley said.
Just over a third of cars sold in the EU last year run on diesel, according to data from IHS, if public demand for the vehicles remains strong.
(Fiat Chrysler to open new Jeep plant in Detroit, add 6,500 jobs. Click Here for the story.)
However, the number of vehicles with diesel engines in Europe has been dropping since the Volkswagen scandal made headlines, forcing German automakers to move away from their reliance on diesel powertrains.
German carmakers such Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW have all invested billions in building up their portfolios of electric vehicles and executive has said there really is no going back.
(Click Here for more about FCA cutting 1,400 jobs at its Illinois Jeep plant.)
Carmakers is Europe also face a difficult regulatory environment. The European Union is in the process of adopting much tighter emission standards in the face of the growing concern about global warming.
In addition, several of Europe’s leading cities, starting with London and Paris have proposed banning diesel vehicles from their streets during the next decade and other cities are enacting or considering similar bans, which would complicate operations of automakers.
(To see more about FCA settling its emissions cheating scandal for $800m, Click Here.)
FCA, though, isn’t as heavily invested yet in electric vehicles, although it has developed an electrification strategy. In addition, the diesel engines used on its Ram trucks have also come under scrutiny from regulators in the United States, who have become more vigilant since the Volkswagen cheating scandal was uncovered.