Sat 21 Apr 2018
Sales have slumped in the scandal’s wake and left manufacturers gasping for a breath of fresh air
Plummeting sales of diesel cars have driven Britain’s auto industry to the brink of a crisis, with the axe falling on thousands of manufacturing jobs, and dealerships threatened with savage restructuring.
Vauxhall, which was bought by Peugeot’s parent company PSA last year, last week revealed plans to slash UK dealerships from 326 to about 200 as part of the French owner’s drive to return the loss-making Vauxhall and Opel marques to profitability. Also this week, it emerged that Nissan is preparing to cut hundreds of jobs at its Sunderland plant, the largest car factory in the UK, amid falling diesel demand.
Elsewhere in the industry, it was revealed this month that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is cutting 1,000 jobs in the Midlands factory that builds Range Rovers and the Land Rover Discovery, as it seeks to offset falling sales of its diesel vehicles. At Vauxhall’s Astra plant in Ellesmere Port, 650 jobs – a third of the workforce – have gone since the PSA takeover.
Diesel is a dirty word among car buyers following the so-called dieselgate scandal in 2015, when it emerged that Volkswagen had cheated regulators and misled customers by using software to suppress emissions of nitrogen oxide during vehicle tests. Since the scandal erupted, carmakers have rushed towards production of “cleaner” electric cars.