Diesel woes linger as German car sales surge

Germany: German carmakers reported a big increase in new registrations in April, official data on the vital sector showed Thursday, although buyers continued to shun diesel-fuelled vehicles after years of emissions scandals.

Some 314,055 brand-new cars hit the road last month, a reading up 8.0 percent year-on-year, the KBA transport authority said.

Of those, some 33.4 percent were powered by diesel — a slightly higher proportion than seen in March, but still 12.5 percent below last year’s figure.

Sales of cars sporting diesel motors — which German manufacturers focused on as a way of reducing emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide — slumped in the wake of the “dieselgate” scandal.

Volkswagen, the world’s largest carmaker, admitted in 2015 to manipulating 11 million cars worldwide to appear less polluting during regulators’ tests than in real on-road driving, and suspicion has fallen on other producers.

But Wolfsburg-based VW continues to dominate its home market, accounting for 19.4 percent of sales over the first four months with its own-brand vehicles alone, and claiming further chunks via high-end subsidiary Audi and mass-market divisions Skoda and Seat.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler and BMW saw little impact from revelations earlier this year that they and VW had financed testing of diesel exhaust gases on live monkeys.

Sales of Mercedes grew 2.5 percent year-on-year between January and April, while BMW shipments shed 0.4 percent.