At the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, diesels were all the rage with a wide array automakers showing off compression ignition engines that were planned to meet U.S. emissions standards and go on sale here. Within months however, a combination of factors – rising diesel prices and the economic collapse foremost among them – led to many of those plans being canceled. One of the companies showing new diesels back then was Kia which, of course, is partnered with Hyundai. John Juriga, director of powertrains at the Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center (HATCI) near Ann Arbor told us that clean diesels were being tested there and we had previously been told expect diesels in the Kia Borrego and Hyundai Veracruz, possibly by 2009 or 2010. At this point, that's not happening.

However, that's not the end of the story for diesel Hyundais in the U.S. At a media briefing at HATCI on Friday to show off the new direct injected four cylinder that's going into the Sonata, Juriga brought up diesel when discussing the company's powertrain plans. Hyundai has diesel engines ranging from 1.1-3.0-liters everywhere else in the world but North America and the company is ready to certify to U.S. standards. According to Juriga, it's just a matter of having the right economic conditions. If and when vehicle sales look like they will return to a point when sales volumes can justify the cost of certification and fuel prices drive a demand for diesel, we could see it happen. Unfortunately, right now is not yet that time.

[Source: Hyundai]

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