The future of diesels is on automaker execs minds this Geneva show

The future of diesels is on automaker execs' minds this Geneva show

The demonisation of diesel was taxing the minds of automakers at the Geneva show today.

Sales across Europe have been plummeting and, as petrol sales increase, so CO2 numbers rise and this will make it more difficult to achieve emissions targets.

Carmakers are already adjusting their powertrain strategies. Toyota announced it will stop selling diesel-powered passengers cars in Europe by the end of this year and Fiat Chrysler fears further investment in oil burners will come increasingly cost prohibitive.

Diesels account for fewer than 10% of Toyota's car sales in Europe although it will continue to offer the engines in 'commercial' models like Land Cruiser SUV, Hilux pick up and Proace light van (made for it under an OEM deal by PSA).

Toyota Europe chief executive Johan van Zyl said the Japanese carmaker would focus its hybrid technology on cars in the future.

FCA chief Sergio Marchionne said: "There appears to be a market disengagement with diesel I can't deny. Further legislation will see it become cost prohibitive to use diesel and we will lessen our reliance on these engines in the future.

"However, when we come to these shows we see lots of exciting new technologies emerging but, when we go out into the market place, the take up is only around 0.2%.

"We have to be very careful, there is a huge amount of investment by lots of companies in new power trains and people are pulling in different directions.

"Look at all the capital also going into autonomous drive, it's huge. Alliances are being forged with start ups all around the world but maybe this is something we have to go through to eventually come up with the right answers."

Kia has one of the freshest car ranges in Europe and has been investing heavily in electrification, hybrids and fuel cells. COO Michael Cole said: "We are making the investments in alternative power trains but we do need help from governments in terms of infrastructure. The increase in petrol is making it more difficult to meet the CO2 goals."

Sales of diesel cars fell 8% in Europe last year reducing their market share to 44% from 55% six years ago. According to JATO dynamics, CO2 emissions in Europe increased last year for the first time in a decade.