From “Dieselgate” to the war in Ukraine, the seven years that revolutionized the car

Recycling a battery at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter, Germany, on May 18, 2022.

The scene takes place on Saturday 30 July in the Ressons-sur-Matz area (Oise) along the A1 motorway. More than 10 electric cars are queuing up at the charging stations, promising a long wait. The image, photographed by a passerby and sent to Twitter, will make some netizens react before giving way to the indifference reserved for mundane moments. However, there is something outrageous about this scene – and even more so about its normality. It sums up the immense upheaval, the “perfect storm” that the automobile experienced in just a few years, in terms of the extent of its history. Exactly seven years.

In the summer of 2015, the Volkswagen scandal broke out, the “Dieselgate”, the beginning of this great transformation. Under pressure from the American authorities, the German company admits to having installed counterfeit software in its vehicles intended to hide the reality of pollution from its diesel engines. “Fraud has led to the automakers’ words being demonstrated”says Flavien Neuvy, automotive economist, director of the Cetelem Observatory.

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“From then on, the influence of the car industry was replaced by that of NGOs, adds Eric Champarnaud, partner and co-founder of marketing analytics firm C-Ways. In the end, this summer there will be a European Parliament that will ban the heat engine in 2035.” So it’s time for a major transformation, which can be summed up in the triptych of electrification, digitization and inflation. The combination of the three phenomena, accelerated or accentuated by climate change, the Covid-19 crisis from early 2020 and the war in Ukraine since February 24, will revolutionize the economic model of manufacturers.

sales collapse

The latest figures from the automotive industry illustrate the extent of these changes. In France, new car sales recorded their fourteenth consecutive monthly decline, down 7% in July. The phenomenon of declining volumes is global. Again, these declines in registrations affected almost all major markets: USA (−12%), Germany (−13%), United Kingdom (−16%), Japan (−7%) … “The golden decade of 2009-2019, an almost uninterrupted period of automotive expansion, has come to an end”, Judge M. Neuvy. “The industry has experienced the illusion of a never-ending growth market, driven by China, the world’s largest market”explains Mr Champarnaud.

The automotive peak was reached in 2017 and 2018 with 94 million new vehicles sold worldwide. Then, after a slight dip in 2019, overall sales collapsed in 2020 (-18%). They are forecast to be just under 80 million for the third year in a row in 2022, while in 2015 experts say they jumped over the 100 million mark around the 2020s. After the “Dieselgate” the diesel sank much faster than the meteorologists suspected shortly after the scandal.

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Kaddouri Ismail

I am Ismail from Morocco, I work as a blogger and online marketer. I am also the founder of the “Mofid” site, in which I constantly publish many important articles in the field of technology, taking advantage of more than 5 years of experience working in the field. I focus on publishing in a group of areas, the most important of which are programming, e-marketing, digital currencies and freelance work.

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