• Image Credit: Audi
  • Image Credit: Audi
Germany's largest automakers are renewing their pitch for their clean-diesel vehicles in the US as a way for consumers to combat high gas prices without having to resort to the (often) even pricier hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.

Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen, along with auto-component supplier Bosch, have joined together in a campaign titled: "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." The project, developed with the German Association of the Automobile Industry (VDA), includes the website Clearly Better Diesel, which outlines the advantages of diesel powertrains in light-duty vehicles, and will be fully unveiled at Detroit's North American International Auto Show next month.

While clean-diesel sales have more than doubled in the US since 2009, they still account for less than three percent of new-car sales in the US. In Western Europe, more than half of the new cars sold are oil burners. In the US, through November of this year, Volkswagen's clean-diesel sales have jumped 32 percent from 2011 to 82,981 units, while Audi's diesel sales are actually down slightly to 6,555 vehicles. Last month, Audi said it will add a clean-diesel option to its A6, A7, A8 sedans as well as its Q5 crossover. Those models are getting a 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged diesel that will deliver 240 horsepower. The A8 diesel will start sales in the US next spring, while the others will debut by the end of 2013. The VDA's press release is available below.
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German Automotive Companies Start Clean-diesel Offensive in USA

BERLIN, December 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Economical, clean, and powerful - joint website for diesels

Six German automotive companies - the passenger car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen, and the supplier Bosch - are starting their first ever joint information campaign for "clean diesels" in the USA. Under the slogan "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." from today onwards they will publicise the advantages of modern diesel passenger car technology over gasoline engines in terms of cleanliness, consumption and performance. The "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." campaign, which has been developed jointly by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and VDA member companies, comprises a website (http://www.clearlybetterdiesel.org) and flanking offline activities on the US market by the companies involved. Their common goal is to create a multi-brand information platform for clean diesels among the US population and to make the clear advantages of this technology better known using first-hand information. Even today, the market share of diesels among all newly registered light vehicles in the USA is in fact still quite low (2.6 per cent) compared with a diesel share of 55 per cent in Western Europe.

Yet sales of diesel passenger cars by German manufacturers - who take 100 per cent of the market in diesel cars in the USA - have more than doubled over the last three years. In the first nine months of the current year around 69,600 diesel cars were sold in the USA, whereas in 2009 there figure was only 30,600. This represents a rise of 127 per cent.

Diesel vehicles have also shown strong gains among total light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks). Up to September 2012, 284,400 light vehicles with diesel engines were sold, compared with only 160,000 units in the year 2009, which is an increase of 78 per cent. The German manufacturers pushed up their market share of the diesel light vehicle segment from 25 to 37 per cent. Their sales multiplied by two and a half (from 40,000 units to over 104,000).

Using brief examples from everyday motoring in the USA, the website explains facts - simply and comprehensibly - about the dynamics of the diesel drive train and its advantages in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, low noise emissions and refuelling costs and also clears up with a deal of humour outdated concerns regarding diesel cars. This is done using small, playful online animations informing users of computers and mobile devices about clean diesels and their efficiency. For example, website users can not only calculate in a split second the consumption advantage of a diesel vehicle, but can also hear how quiet a modern clean diesel drive train is these days compared with a passenger car from the 1990s.

In addition, the participating companies present current models of cars that deserve to bear the "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." logo. These clean diesel vehicles comply with the very strict environmental standards in all 50 US states. On average, their fuel efficiency is 18 per cent higher than corresponding models with gasoline engines. The campaign participants are aiming to put over the clean diesel alternative to interested US citizens in as much detail as possible, so the website also provides background information on the latest research and development, and on the overall environmental framework in the USA. Furthermore, it is linked to US initiatives that are active on the topic of clean diesels in the States.

The joint campaign's "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." logo, which was designed and realised by the New York agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal and Partners (kbsp), therefore indicates at a glance where current information about the most advanced automotive diesel technology in the USA can be found. And also about which innovative passenger car models bring this whole spectrum of economy, performance and fun onto the roads right across the USA.

The companies participating in the campaign, which other manufacturers and suppliers may join, will apply the campaign logo as a seal of quality on the US market in advertisements, on banners, in TV spots, product brochures and their showrooms. The campaign will be making its mark at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), which will take place in Detroit, Michigan, in January 2013.

The "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." website is available under the following link:

http://www.clearlybetterdiesel.org


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 50 Comments
      4EvsHybrids
      • 2 Years Ago
      Compare all the Dino fuels you want, deny and dance around the Carcinogenic components, but in the end no one is going to pay +$15-20,000 / Diesel vehicle to achieve a PZEV. Your example is hilarious! Three stage filtering, wow? Thats why it is only in the lab, because to implement it, would cost too much money and the American consumer isn't paying for it. Keep dreaming, the future is ZEV period.
      wxman
      • 2 Years Ago
      Don't really know what you're referring to (ALL diesel vehicles currently sold in the USA have three-stage filtering), but when anti-diesel CARB reports that they found no difference in particle number concentration between the HEPA-filtered dilution tunnel air blank and exhaust emissions from a diesel car they tested, there are clearly no particles being added by diesel engine exhaust, carcinogenic or otherwise.
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they aren't willing to certify them with B20, then they should keep them over in Europe. I'm not anti-diesel, but the problem is that we are reducing gasoline consumption across the nation, while diesel demand is fairly inelastic. Diesel and Gas come from the same barrel of oil. So if higher CAFE MPG requirements, ethanol, PHEV's, EV, car sharing, etc reduce the amount of gasoline we consume, then we will refine less oil. Refining less oil means we will have less diesel fuel. Less diesel fuel means higher diesel prices, and the only safety valve to release the pressure on diesel demand is bio-diesel. So there is no point in bringing in more diesel vehicles over the long term unless they are certified to burn at least B20.
      RC
      • 2 Years Ago
      Bring more hybrids.
      Brody
      • 2 Years Ago
      As far as oil consumption goes, it seems like it is more effective to go hybrid than diesel, but I would love to see a non-hybrid diesel get 56 MPG EPA combined. Diesel is more oil dense per gallon, so in order to beat the Prius 50 MPG gas in oil use, then you would need to get ~56 MPG diesel. Right now, there is nothing even close. People seem to say that the EPA testing is unfair on diesel, but I am not sure. I drive my car 12 MPG OVER today's EPA combined rating, but that is just anecdotal, so I'm wounding if claims that the EPA is not fair to diesel is also anecdotal.
        diesel912turbo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brody
        Google Diesel hybrids in Europe, cars are on the road currently getting 75 mpg. that is the best of both. Check out the clean diesel cars, they are the best value.
      jason32379
      • 2 Years Ago
      I love my 335d. Let's hope BMW brings it back or offers some alternative when my lease comes up in 5-7 months... Or I'll be going elsewhere. An X1 with a two or three liter diesel would be great!
      Tweaker
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Germans can afford to push filthy diesels because they do not spend blood and treasure protecting the oil supply lines. Meanwhile, both VW and BMW are releasing hybrids that shame their diesel products in performance and efficiency. The only thing they can do to protect their diesel investments is charge exorbitant money for hybrid versions and claim the diesel is better value. They can get away with that, they get free oil protection.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tweaker
        The only reason VW offers a Gas hybrid in the US is because that is what we have tax credits for. Clean Diesels are not filthy, go test drive a clean diesel and see how awesome they are.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yesterday's technology at tomorrow's prices.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        i make you right... emissions have not reduced in a couple of generations, according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emission_test_cycle Vehicle and engine manufacturers may exploit the limited number of test conditions in the cycle by programming their engine management systems to control emissions to regulated levels at the specific test points contained in the cycle, but create a great deal more pollution under conditions experienced in real operation but not represented in the test cycle. This results in real emissions higher than the standards are supposed to allow, undermining the standards and public health. The Ecu is for me like a Government, if its broken and its not doing what you want (i.e having FACTORY SETTINGS to allow vehicle to run on a variety of cleaner fuels) the only option you have is to replace it completely. but its the thinking from industry that remains unchanged, the fuels available have improved, but the emissions (due to the TOXIC fuels) havent.
        wxman
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        Giza Plateau, According to Wikipedia, the first operable electric motor was made in 1832, and the first patent was issued in 1837. Rudolf Diesel wasn't even born until 1858, and patented his engine in 1892, over 50 years after the electric motor was patented. The fuel cell was successfully demonstrated in 1839. What do you think is "tomorrow's technology"?
          • 2 Years Ago
          @wxman
          rudolf diesel used a sustainable clean fuel when designing his engine. drastic emissions improvements are required, and Diesel is not the answer, unless you are using it to dilute a veggie oil.(for example)
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Keep in mind that diesel costs ~17% more than gasoline and is can be harder to find than gasoline when doing your comparisons. And that price differential may rise if more people buy diesels.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        All gas pumps can be switched to diesel with minimal changes in infrastructure. Diesel cost more because it is taxed more. Diesel actually cost less to refine then gasoline, if there was an increase in diesel demand, this would bring down the cost of fuel. This would also bring down the cost of all items delivered to any retail in the us because everything is delivered by Diesel trucks, trains, or water via diesel powered ships.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        I love it when I post verifiable facts and get voted down. Some people just don't like reality.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Passes spec a beer... 'Welcome to the club buddy!' I remember I asked Ford a question, and I even said, 'no right or wrong answer, but....' I wanted his opinion on nuclear power, since he supports it but many greens do not. I got like a -3. For asking the opinion of someone else. Wth? I figure downvotes are for factually incorrect stuff, or angry name calling. When carney or Grendel go off on the hydrogen or fuel cells and I see downvotes, I figure that is what they like. Is that "wrong?" You are up to a plus 1, so maybe it was someone who doesn't like you. Oddly you were voted down for talking abut price, and you even put an 'approximate' sign there. Wow. Marco is buying this round. Dan is in the back, muttering about aero and light weight, drinking tea....
      4EvsHybrids
      • 2 Years Ago
      No matter which way you spin it, Stinky Diesels are not Green. Clean(Oxymoron) Diesels will never be able to achieve a smog score even near to a PZEV gasoline ICE. The future is PZEV or ZEV. I hope these clean diesels in automobiles go the way of the Dinosaurs, extinct already. Keep them in Europe where they can share the air with the 2 pack-a-day smokers.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @4EvsHybrids
        Sadly, you obviously let your Greenness trump your common sense.
        wxman
        • 2 Years Ago
        @4EvsHybrids
        Please refer to http://webpages.charter.net/lmarz/emissions2012.html to see why "PZEV" classification is at best misleading in how much environmental damage is actually created by these artificial categories, especially if you're comparing different fuels with vastly different properties. Even then, Nissan has developed diesel technology that meets SULEV (http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/TECHNOLOGY/OVERVIEW/sulev_lcdt.html).
      19mwc59
      • 2 Years Ago
      4EvsHybrids- You can't argue that there is a $15,000 premium associated with diesel technology and then fail to include the premium associated with hybrid technology. And what of the environmental costs of mining lithium for automobile battery production in South America - or does that not matter because its Boliva and Peru's problem which is similiar to your arguement that stinky diesels should be kept in Europe maintaining it to be a European problem only. Factor in the lobbying, corporate tax breaks and individual tax incentives that the American and Japanese automobile manufacturers have spent to keep the German's out and you will see how tilted the playing field truly is. And what of the electrical power generation in this country, did you factor it in - its still 40% coal. There is no single techonolgy that is the answer when you way all possible liabilities; whether they are economic factors, or wieghing the total pollution created, or the total energy consumed to create a technology. And because of that we should be looking at all possibilities. Twenty years from know China could control all the worlds lithium or Boliva and Peru could become the next OPEC.
        4EvsHybrids
        • 2 Years Ago
        @19mwc59
        Truth be known, Hybrid/EV Battery Technology Manufacturers are looking at other Non Rare metals to increase the density of Batteries. Toyota and Honda are looking at materials and technologies other than Platinum. Lithium is current technology and there is a monopoly of countries that are doing the same thing as OPEC. Unfortunately, there are major discoveries of rare precious metals in the domestic 50 states as well as in the oceans and market forces that will negate monopolies of Lithium producers You talk of dirty fuel in electrical power generation in this country, but you fail to mention that coal usage is declining because of Natural Gas and renewable s are being used in Electrical power generation. You are so right, since Hybrid/EV market penetration is so slight (< 5%) as compared to the size of the ICE market, where all oil refineries are classified by the EPA as Superfund sites(Toxic Waste Dumps). Clean Diesels have a very long way to go before they achieve a PZEV rating of Gasoline ICE.
        wxman
        • 2 Years Ago
        @19mwc59
        4EvsHybrids - I've already posted CARB certified emissions data of the MB E350 BlueTec which is within a whisker of hitting SULEV (slightly higher NMHC emissions than SULEV standard and far below the ULEV standard, all other emissions meet SULEV, some very easily). Also, Nissan has clean diesel tech available that meets SULEV, which you speculate would be a $15,000 premium without any supporting data. Furthermore, you continue to ignore upstream emissions which are clearly not included in the "Drive Clean" smog scores (http://www.driveclean.ca.gov/Know_the_Score/Understand_the_Smog_Score.php - "How the EP Label Smog Score is Determined" - Smog Score* - *Does not include upstream emissions).
      wxman
      • 2 Years Ago
      I get it just fine. Current on-road diesel technology has a three-stage emission control system - a DOC, a DPF, and either a NOx storage catalyst (as on a Jetta TDI) or a urea-SCR system (as on a Passat TDI). These emission control systems are expensive, but not $15K more. The diesel engine option isn't half that much even on the heavy-duty pickup trucks. Maybe on a large over-the-road truck? I've worked in various aspects of air quality since 1985. I have more than just a passing interest in emissions and what environmental damage those emissions do. Based on EPA's OWN data, and based on just current regulations, the contribution of "Highway Diesel" (HD) is projected to be trivial by 2030 compared to other sources, including "Highway non-diesel" (HND)... PM2.5 - 0.5% (HD); 2.7% (HND) NOx - 2.5% (HD); 12.2% (HND) NMHC - 1.0% (HD); 20.8% (HND) CO - 0.2% (HD); 45.0% (HND) SOx - 0.1% (HD); 0.5% (HND) If you think the air will suddenly turn pristine if all diesel equipment is banned from the highways, well that makes one of us. I stand by my higher upstream PM emissions from EV comment, even in California. A graphical depiction can be see in an ANL presentation (Wang, "GREET Life-Cycle Analysis of Vehicle/Fuel Systems." Argonne National Laboratory), slides #24 and #25. NOx isn't significantly better either. The National Academies of Science and the EPA agree with that analysis. I've shown you where a ULEV diesel vehicle has lower criteria pollutant emissions across-the-board than the equivalent PZEV gasser. We'd be better off from an emissions and air quality perspective to have diesel vehicles that only meet Euro 5. I have a current-generation diesel vehicle which emits no smell whatsoever, even at cold start (which you sure can't say about gassers). You can say "stinky diesel" all you want but anyone who has actually experienced current diesel technology knows better..
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