Bosch, the component manufacturer, believes that sales of diesel cars will reach 35% of the UK market by 2005. 

Certainly, the demand for diesel power has fuelled considerable growth in the market this year, with car manufacturers scrambling to keep pace with new technological developments.

The UK division of automotive component manufacturer Robert Bosch has predicted a continuing increase in the sales penetration of diesel power in the UK market. The company estimates that by 2005, as many as 35% of new car sales will be diesel-powered.

Bosch has worked with several vehicle manufacturers in developing new technologies for diesel engines, which were once regarded as noisy, dirty, and underpowered.

However, in recent years vehicle manufacturers have put much of their engine resources into diesel engine development. The move has been driven by the lower taxes on diesel fuel in mainland Europe, which governments have introduced because of the lower levels of CO2 emitted, and by emissions targets set by the EU.

While the uptake of diesel engines has been slower than in France or Spain, recent changes to the taxation of company cars in the UK have accelerated the growth of diesel sales.  They too are now taxed according to the levels of CO2 emitted, making diesel the logical choice for many company car drivers.

The winners in the diesel war have so far been Volkswagen and Peugeot/Citroen at the volume end of the market, and BMW in the prestige sector. Both Ford and Mercedes Benz have now introduced diesel models that are capable of challenging the market leaders. As a result, 50% of all Mercedes Benz flagship S Class models sold in the UK are now diesel powered, something that would have been unthinkable in such a car only a few years ago.

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