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City Centre Diesel Ban No Threat Says Dealer

Demand for diesel used cars and vans will continue just as strong as before says a dealer who believes the recent announcement by Bristol City Council to ban diesels within a central area from 2021 will have next to no effect on sales in the second-hand sector.

The city council is to exclude privately-owned diesel cars from a central zone during the daytime and vans must pay to enter it; the move follows that of other authorities who either have, or are considering, introducing low -emissions zones such as the one already operating in London although Bristol is the first to introduce an outright ban.

But Graham Hawthorn, general manager of the Cheshire-based Motor Connect dealership, says buyers are not put off by the ‘demon diesel’ debate or by fears of restrictions such as those due in Bristol.

Graham said the Northwich business, which sells around 50 to 60 cars and vans a month with a rough split of two-thirds diesel, one-third petrol, has seen no drop-off in demand and says buyers are more concerned with its superior mpg.

“Around 65% of our sales are diesel and although some people are looking for petrol because of the scandals around diesel emissions, most people don’t seem concerned by it. Our commercial customers, those buying vans, are pretty switched onto the costs and issues surrounding diesel, petrol or hybrids and on the whole, they are not bothered.’’

Dealers Should Help The Buyer Into Most Suitable Car

Graham added that as with any good dealer, he preferred to help the buyer into the most suitable vehicle for them rather than pushing one fuel type over another.

“We want our customers to drive the car that best suits their needs. If we have a buyer who only does short, urban-based commutes or school-run type of journeys, by the time we have explained that their driving might cause problems with a diesel car’s DPF they are tending more towards petrol anyway but the decision is being steered by our advice on what works best for them, not because we have any particular preference for one fuel type over another. And it just happens that for many people in rural or semi-rural areas, diesel remains the best option.

“Once dealers sit down and talk potential customers through the issues and help them to arrive at the best solution for them, I can’t see this Bristol policy making a lot of difference to the used car market. Diesel still offers a lot of cost advantages.”

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