Iím currently driving a seven year old Audi A5 S Line in Ibis white. To my knowledge, thereís absolutely nothing wrong with my car. It still looks relatively modern and (touch wood) has never let me down. Itís perfect for commuting, relatively economical and fits the bill perfectly for my family life. Itís not like I fancy something newer or different so why is selling it now a serious consideration? Well, the answer to that is because itís a diesel. Three or four years ago when I was looking at buying this car a prerequisite was that it had to be a diesel. So, why on earth do I want to look at selling it now just because itís a diesel?
Thereís been so much talk about diesel cars recently that you must have been asleep longer than Sleeping Beauty not to have noticed it. Recently Porsche have withdrawn diesel models from their line up and Toyotaís diesel future is in doubt too. However, much of my personal feeling towards diesel cars have emanated from the controversy surrounding the VW emissions scandal back in 2015/16. This scandal hit me because I owned a car that was directly affected by it.
Last March (2017) it was reported that new diesel car registrations were at an all-time high of 250,000. So it appeared that the emissions scandal hadnít severely damaged consumer confidence in diesel cars as much as people thought it would. However, roll on six months to September (2017) it was reported that the data was less positive and that diesel cars had in fact seen a massive drop of 21% on the previous year. Since then Iím constantly hearing that diesel sales are down for both new and used cars.
So, what had changed in this relative short space of time? Was it a hangover from the emissions scandal? Not as far as I can immediately gather. Instead it appeared to be more related to the effect diesel cars have on the environment and the Government doing its best to let people know about it. As a consequence buyers were suddenly getting nervous about the future cost of driving diesel cars. Not only was the Government implementing a lower Emission Zone in Greater London, tougher emissions testing and hinting at higher tax but a handful of major car manufacturers such as BMW, Renault and Ford announced diesel car scrappage schemes on Euro 1-4 engines. I can only imagine that what all of this had done is put the heebie-jeebies on potential diesel car buyers. Itís no surprise that all of this really sent a negative feeling towards the diesel motor industry. From my own experience I believe that this hasnít just affected buyers but also diesel owners like me. You donít have to have a PHD in micro economics to understand supply and demand and its effect on price. Funnily enough I donít have such a PHD but I know that this negative feeling towards diesel cars in general will negatively affect the demand for them. I also know that what this means for me is that the value of my own car would drop faster than usual.
On a side note I have to say (from a personal point of view) I feel quite let down by the Government. It was drummed into me and other drivers that diesel cars were an eco-friendly alternative to petrol. Now it looks like theyíre saying, weíre terribly sorry but actually this isnít the case Ė and oh yes, weíre going to punish you for owning one in the way of higher tax and pollution charges.
This all brings me back to my original problem, should I look to sell my car soon? As far as I know my car would only pass the Euro 5 emissions standard. So, I know itís not as efficient as or kinder to the environment than newer cars. Because of the furore surround diesel cars and their effect on the environment at the moment thereís no doubt that thereís a shift away from diesel. This will affect the demand for my car and so I will get less for it. The question Iím really grappling with is whether this diesel-bashing thing is a long term trend. Will car buyersí negative views on slightly older diesel cars actually ease as time goes by and therefore eventually bring the value of my car back in line to what it should be? In terms of new cars, especially ones with smaller engines, I think that this negative connotation will pass quite quickly. However, in my opinion I think that older diesels in the used car market will suffer longer Ė but how much longer?
So, do I cash out now? Itís a strange one as Iím in that weird position where Iím pretty happy with a car that I may be looking to get rid of. The market and the indicators would suggest I should sell. Knowing me, I probably will but whatís right for me isnít necessarily right for other diesel owners. Even if I do decide to sell my car then do I buy an Audi A5 petrol next or a newer Euro 6 A5 diesel model? Iím going to have to leave this question for another day.
Am I making a mistake? Let me know what you think.