MADRID – Reflecting the declining popularity of diesel engines in European markets, Renault is changing its production mix of gasoline and diesel powerplants at its factory in Valladolid, Spain.

The French automaker anticipates building 1.7 million engines this year at the plant, one of three Renault factories in the city 120 miles (200 km) northwest of Madrid. That total is 8.3% more than in 2016 and comprises 70% diesel and 30% gasoline powerplants.

But those percentages are changing, according to Anne-Catherine Brieux, who became plant manager June 1. “In the short term – six months – we think that this proportion is going to be balanced, achieving a 50-50” split, she says.

The plant’s flexibility will allow production of gasoline engines on the two assembly lines now dedicated to 1.5L diesels. A third line already is dedicated to 3-cyl., 0.9L and 4-cyl., 1.2L gasoline mills. Daily production is 7,700 units. The plant will launch production of aluminum blocks for gasoline engines from early 2018.

Valladolid provides 42% of the engines used by Renault vehicles and are shipped mainly to Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance plants in Valladolid; Palencia, Spain; Sunderland, U.K.; Maubegue, France; and Tangier, Morocco.

Diesel penetration in the European Union peaked in 2011 at 56% but reached 70% in some markets such as France or Spain. In Spain alone, 56% of the 33 million vehicles on the roads are diesel-powered.

According to the ACEA, the main association of European automakers, diesels’ share of the European market in the year’s first eight months was 45%, compared with 50% in like-2016.

The diesel take rate in Europe has been declining since 2015, when the Dieselgate scandal involving emissions-test cheating by Volkswagen and other automakers broke, and because of current or pending restrictions on diesel-powered vehicles in several major cities.