It's hard to replace the long-range capability of a diesel car.
Even in Europe, where diesel cars have sold extremely well, gas and electric cars are starting to grow in popularity. Many car companies believe we are witnessing the death of diesel following Volkswagen's infamous Dieselgate scandal. Diesel-powered VW cars have been piling up at disused parking lots across the United States, waiting to be fitted with new software to meet emissions regulations. Many of these cars will eventually go back on the market while others will be scrapped.
The US was never big on diesel vehicles (except for pickup trucks) but Europe is a different story entirely. According to CNN, there are still plenty of VW customers who want to buy diesel cars.
In fact, VW says its diesel sales rebounded in 2018 for the first time since the scandal began back in 2015. 43% of all VW models sold in Germany were diesel in 2018, which is up from 39% in 2017. This is quite close to were diesel sales were prior to the sandal (around 49% of all sales in 2015).
Christian Stadler, a professor at the Warwick Business School, says diesel cars are still popular due to their long-range ability. "It is still the economical choice for people who have a longer commute if you drive for an hour or more each way every day," he said. "There is a lot of hype about EVs, but frankly, not very many people can afford a Tesla. And if you have a longer commute, electric cars are not practical, because the technology and the infrastructure is not there yet."
Volkswagen is already paving a new path with an entire lineup of electric vehicles under its upcoming ID line but there are still customers who are hesitant to abandon diesel. "In Germany, the diesel debate is emotionally charged and frequently strays from the facts," said Jürgen Stackmann, a board member at VW. Even though EVs will drive VW's future plans, Stackmann says diesel will "remain an important technology for years to come."