Over dinner in Amarillo, Texas on Saturday night, we sat at a table with Audi of America EVP Johan de Nysschen and discussed a range of topics. Among them was his impressions of other manufacturers backing off on diesel plans for the U.S. market. During the course of this drive, Toyota confirmed the cancellation of its plans to add a diesel engine to its full-size trucks. Chrysler has also apparently lost confidence in US demand for diesel in light of high fuel prices.
de Nysschen seemed unconcerned about these developments. He made the point that TDI technology "is a core competency for Audi" whereas the other manufacturers are more focused on other powertrains types. While de Nysschen expressed respect for what Toyota has accomplished, he identified a different Japanese company as the one to watch. To de Nysschen, Honda is by far the most impressive of the Japanese carmakers. He emphasized that like Audi, Honda is and always has been an engineering-driven company. If an alliance were ever to happen between a Japanese and German company Honda and Audi would be the most natural fit. However, Honda has never expressed interest in such alliances and prefers to go their own way. The cultural differences between German and Japanese manufacturers also make such tie-ups unlikely. In the meantime, Audi shows no signs of slowing down its diesel push.

Our travel and lodging for this media event was provided by the manufacturer.

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