Sales of diesel-powered cars have increased in 20 of th... Sales of diesel-powered cars have increased in 20 of the past 24 months.
Double-digit diesel sales in North America for 20 of the last 24 months have helped German automakers reach record sales. That is likely to increase as all five - Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and VW - roll out more diesel choices, including powerful and fuel efficient turbo versions.

Diesel is a "cornerstone of our portfolio going forward," said William Craven, head of regulatory affairs for Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, which is introducing a 4-cylinder diesel to the US. He was part of a panel of diesel marketing and regulatory experts speaking at a panel sponsored by the German-American Chamber of Commerce, during the NY Auto Show, which is open to the pubic through April 7.

BMW's Dan Creed, responsible for the brand's product planning in North America, says there will be a diesel "in every [category of vehicle] segment" before 2025, when federal fuel standards require 54.5 mpg average fuel economy. Diesel is an indispensible tool toward meeting that goal because "it's 30 percent more efficient out of the box," said Wayne Killen, Audi of America's manager of product strategy.

"Fuel economy is the number one consideration for our customers," said VW's Doug Skorupski, manager of American product strategy. He said VW is adding a clean diesel option lower priced trim levels than is currently the case to broaden the appeal even further. Just over 20 percent of VW sales in the US last year were diesel, including a whopping 82 percent of the Jetta Sportwagen, and that "success is driving our production plans," he said. Volksagen has long been the leader in sales of clean diesel vehicles in the U.S. It's TDI branded clean diesel vehicles practically have a cult following.

Check out AOL Autos Techsplanation story and video on Clean Diesel and how it works to save on fuel economy. Here.

Audi is adding US diesel offerings. An Audi A8 TDI 3.0 liter V6 capable of 36 mpg and an 800 mile range, the highest in the segment, is in the lineup this year. Killen said the A7 and A5 are also getting TDI power-plants, but did not say when they would arrive in U.S. showrooms.

Porsche marketing vice president Andre Oosthuizen said 30 percent of Cayenne SUV sales are diesel, which "far exceeded expectations." But, he added, there are no plans to offer diesel versions of high performance models like the 911 or Boxster/Cayman. Unlike corporate sibling VW, he said fuel economy is not "in the top five" considerations for Porsche customers today, but expects that will grow.

All five German automakers agreed that the perceived lack of availability and cost of diesel fuel are important considerations, perhaps even deterrents.

The idea that diesel is available only at truck stops "is more perception than reality," said Daimler's Craven, noting that an many fuel stations have diesel pumps, next to the gas, and that on-board navigation systems make them easy to locate.

Audi's Killen said all of his company's models require premium gas, so the higher cost for diesel is less of an issue. Even so, "gas is now the highest percentage of disposable income since the 1980s," he said, making overall cost of ownership a prime selling point.

Benefits of clean diesel in terms of fuel economy and performance are mostly drowned out by buzz around hybrids and electric vehicles, as well as the improving fuel economy of gasoline-powered vehicles and the shift to high-performance 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder vehicles. All five automakers on the panel agreed that it's difficult to convert a gasoline customer, or one considering a hybrid, to diesel in the showroom.

"We need to educate the customer" better that new clean diesel technology is an alternative, not a compromise to performance and value," said Porsche's Oosthuizen, which is the same issue for hybrids and PHEVs.



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  • 17 Comments
      peteswarr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why is it that only ther Germans can build a great diesel car? Dodge sold the Avenger and Town & Country in Europe with a turbo diesel option (they were/are built here and shipped over there) the Avenger got 56 mpg and the T&C got 40. These were built with a VW designed engine that I am sure that Chrysler could improve on. We were not able to buy these cars due to EPA regulations. They didn't want too many diesels in this country. I guess that the EPA didn't want the oil companies to loose money as these vehicles got too good fuel economy. Only getting twice the fuel economy would be good for the US citizens, but bad for the tax man as less gallons sold means less tax dollars going into the govt coffers. As far as sitting in traffic behind a diesel, modern diesel car engines are so small that their exhaust is "cleaned" with added systems similar to gas cars and don't smell bad. I rented a diesel Renault in the UK and it didn't smell bad and it ran better than gas cars. It also was quite comfortable having beend designed for taller people.
      Duncan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Had a '85 300SD turbo diesel and traded it in when fuel was 40-50 cents more than premium... It had 287,000 miles and still got 25mpg... But I take issue with Audi in that its cars have to run premium... I have a Mini and a C230 MB and I run regular in both... The Mini gets 29mpg and the C230 gets 32mpg... Consumer reports states no car needs premium...all will run on regular. They are all designed with computers to determine how best to run with whatever octane is being used.
        tony
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Duncan
        Premium gas has not been available @ the corner station since 1973. Any 1 with any knowledge of fuels knows this. Premium is 100 octane or more. Good luck trying to find that.
      Curtis
      • 1 Year Ago
      I have five diesel vehicles! And all have been adapted to run on Bio Fuel. My Motor Home gets 14 MPG, my pickup (a 3/4 ton) gets 21, the car gets 45, the SUV get 32 and my diesel Motorcycle gets 130. So yea, there are a few Diesel Engine fans out here. I"ll pay the premium because all will run 500,000 miles+ before I have to think about buying a replacement. My Gas vehicles will be worn out at 150,000 miles. When the new Jeep comes out with the V6 diesel I'll probably sell my SUV and get one. Wanted a Jeep for years. Now if Elio Motors would just bring out a diesel in their commuter car, we could all afford to drive again!
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wyatt. if you, thought Travis`s st0ry is flabbergasting... on friday I bought themselves a Ford from bringing in $6253 this - five weeks past and-a little over, ten grand last-munth. it's definitly the easiest work Ive ever done. I actually started three months/ago and practically straight away startad earning more than $83... per-hr. I use this website,......... zoo80. com
      veasystreet
      • 1 Year Ago
      Clean diesel, an oxymoron? Have you ever been stuck in traffic on a hot summer day behind a diesel bus? Enough to bring tears to your eyes.
        Duncan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @veasystreet
        It does have an odor but compared to the carbon footprint, diesel is a better fuel...just ignore the black smoke as it disipates much like tires wearing on the road...which are very green compared to gas fuel. Get past the odor and it is a much better alternative...or find a vegatable oil burning diesel and follow them...if they use donut oil then it smells really good...
          thosholzel
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Duncan
          "...just ignore the black smoke as it disipates " Oh, sure. And just ignore the black smoke of wood-buring stoves--after all, burning wood means no profits for the oil barons. And, hey--who's to say breathing black smoke isn't good for you?
          tony
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Duncan
          You can tell what 1`s burn do nut oil, its the 1`s that have 22 cop cars behind them.
        DB Cooper
        • 1 Year Ago
        @veasystreet
        this article is about cars, you knucklehead... buses don't have clean diesel engines. try comparing apples to apples.
      spokajo
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't understand this, has anybody seen the cost of Diesel at the pump? There are plenty of cars out there that get almost as good a MPG for 90+ cents a gallon less.
      ncaok
      • 1 Year Ago
      It still stinks, no matter what...and to work on a diesel car is nasty in it's own rite. But then again these reassuring engineers don' t work on them.
        DB Cooper
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ncaok
        I have a jetta tdi and you can't smell anything... you are stuck in the 70s... I get 53 mpg every weekday to and from work, saving about $1,500 per year, even though diesel costs a little more. it's a no-brainer. Also, who cares what they're like to work on... I don't work on my car. if you're a mechanic, then get a job that doesn't require you to work on diesels... DUH.
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