Bosch this week predicted that every third car sold in the UK will be a diesel by 2005 and every other by 2008.

Speaking at a presentation held at Bosch’s UK headquarters in Denham, Middlesex earlier this week Dr Manfred Mueller, MD of Bosch’s UK Automotive Original Equipment Division, said: We believe diesel’s share of UK car sales will reach 30 to 35 per cent by 2005 and a 50:50 petrol/diesel ratio by 2008 is achievable. This is because fuel economy, tax benefits and a burgeoning appreciation for the high torque driving characteristics of the modern direct injection diesel engines we have helped create are driving demand up.”

“In mainland Western Europe, where the latest engine technology reaches the consumer earlier and where diesel fuel is significantly cheaper, there is already parity between petrol and diesel, and in some countries diesel is more popular “

On the supply side, Markus Schmidt, Vice President, Application and Sales, for Bosch’s Diesel Systems Division at their world headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany explained the underlying reasons for the increases:

“Europe’s vehicle manufacturers have all committed to reduce emissions levels to a fleet average of 140 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre driven by 2008, and they will only be able to do that with a high percentage of diesels in their portfolios.”

“Large powerful cars will remain popular for years to come,” he continued, “but they will almost certainly continue to emit more than the agreed 2008 level. For this reason, vehicle makers will rely heavily on sales of diesels emitting less than 140 g/km of CO2 to redress the balance. We will, therefore, continue to see more new diesel models in all sectors of the car market, with particular efforts being made to create one or 1.2 litre diesel engines for small cars.”

As part of the presentation to journalists, representatives from Bosch’s Diesel Systems Division in Germany outlined a number of new developments in diesel engines, such as higher injection pressures, dual pre and post injections and an electronic metering system designed to make de-NOx catalytic exhaust systems more effective.

In addition, it was announced that Bosch is just starting series production of the diesel lambda sensor, which is to appear first in Volkswagen’s new Touareg SUV.

Bosch says that these innovations will ensure the next generation of diesels meets the Euro IV emission targets coming into effect in 2005.