Cars | Diesel imports from Russia will soon end – Will it have consequences for the car trade?

The diesel import ban from Russia is approaching. Is the collapse of sales and value of diesel cars looming next on the horizon?

With a diesel car commuters have been refueling recently in a cold sweat, because the price of diesel per liter has persistently remained above two euros. Gasoline, on the other hand, is already twenty cents cheaper.

This strange situation is explained by the twist that took place on Sunday: the European Union bans at that time import of diesel from Russia.

Is the collapse of sales and value of diesel cars looming next on the horizon?

Saka’s store photographed in Herttoniemi, Helsinki, last spring.

Nobelieves the business manager of the car store chain Saka Petri Poukkula. Saka, or Suomen Autokauppa, has 24 stores around the country.

“On the tank, it will only show up in cents, ten at the most. When it comes to cars, we follow the market, but we don’t believe [hinnoittelun] to sudden movements. The car market will recover,” says Poukkula.

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Even last spring, the situation was different. 56 percent of Saka’s sales were diesels before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. After the start of the war, the share fell to a low of 42 percent.

“Prices came down when the war broke out, but then the situation normalized. Demand increased after the summer and now diesel sales are doing really well.”

The sale of used cars fell last year in the entire industry, but on the other hand, it was only a drop from the record readings brought about by the corona virus. In the deepest moments of the pandemic, Finns bought cars at a fast pace for domestic tourism.

“Finland is a country of long distances, where trailers and wagons are pulled. Today’s diesel is an extremely good option here. Even if traffic is electrified, it will be very slow,” says Poukkula.

The average price of diesel cars sold by the chain has hovered around 18,000 euros.

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Sakan the estimates could be taken as a sales pitch, but the statistics support the steady position of diesel in Finland.

There are slightly more than 700,000 diesel-powered passenger cars, which is a quarter of the car fleet. The share of a quarter has remained practically the same for almost a decade.

In the first registrations of new cars, the share of diesel cars has fallen to around 6–8 percent. On the other hand, every third car sold on the used car market is a diesel.

According to the calculations of the Automotive Information Center, they are newer than used gasoline cars. This is the reason why there are so many diesels on Finnish roads now and in the future.

Still a diesel death is reported annually. CEO of the Finnish Confederation of Automotive Industry Pekka Rissa believes that nothing amazing will happen in the market for at least a couple of years.

“There is a target group that drives a lot. Employees who travel around Finland, taxi drivers, people taking cabin trips and so on,” Rissa lists.

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Well, will the world change next Sunday? No, answers Rissa as well.

“There is quite a lot of diesel available in the world, and it looks like a warm spring is coming. That’s why we don’t have a problem with fuel, and we don’t need to use so much of it for heating,” says Rissa.

“Here’s to better months ahead.”

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