As I wrote earlier today, new car buyers in the U.S. are more in favor of hybrids than diesels - by a huge margin. Over at The Car Connection, we find some comments by GM's vice chairman Bob Lutz that are in alignment with the KBB study. Lutz's view is that diesels won't appeal to American buyers. The reason is price. Lutz said:
Frankly in the United States, with diesel fuel the same price as (gasoline), I don't think that many Americans are going to pay a $3,000 or $4,000 premium for a modern diesel engine. On top of the normal diesel premium, you now have advanced emission systems. Unless we decide to eat the cost, which unfortunately we can't afford to do, I think customers are going to say, 'Wait a minute. At equal fuel prices I'm paying $4,000 more for this.' It will not be like Germany.
So, the strike against diesels is the cost. Instead of the oil burners, Lutz predicts, customers will drive green through flex-fuel vehicles. Convenient, considering that GM just announced a big cellulosic ethanol deal with Coskata. Still, we're getting a pretty good idea today of the image trouble diesels have in the U.S.
- Lutz says gas prices will need to go up if Americans are to embrace small cars
- Detroit 2008: GM and Coskata announce worldwide cellulosic ethanol partnership