Europe used to be a stronghold for diesel vehicles, where it accounted for half of all cars sold until April last year. Last month, however, that proportion dropped to 46%.

“While there are several reasons for this shift, all evidence points to the Dieselgate scandal as the start of this decline,” said JATO Dynamics global automotive analyst Felipe Munoz. “Since the scandal, which broke in 2015, the fuel type has suffered major setbacks to its reputation as governments consider new legislation that directly affect diesel car owners – such as plans in the UK for a diesel scrappage scheme,” Munoz said.

“In tandem with this, the media continues to advise consumers to avoid the fuel type wherever possible. When factoring in the ongoing push for electric/hybrid vehicles, which are particularly prevalent in markets like the UK, it is perhaps no surprise to see this decline in performance from diesel,” Munoz continued.

Going by brands and their models, the Volkswagen Golf reclaimed its top spot on the sales chart, even though sales were down by 28.1% while the Polo fell 11.4% with third place. The Renault Clio took second place, recording a 7.1% drop. It wasn’t all downhill though, as the Citroen C3 took ninth place with a gain of 48.1%, while the VW Tiguan made even bigger strides with a 71.6% gain for fourth place.

The biggest winners in this instance are Volkswagen Group and PSA Groupe, who, together, account for four out of ten car sales in Europe. The Peugeot 3008 immediately became the fifth best-selling SUV as it came to market, contributing its share of PSA Groupe’s European gains.