BMW is about to start building model year 2017 diesel cars for the US

Regulators delayed BMW diesel certification last year.

In what may be a "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" moment, BMW is starting to produce model year 2017 diesel-powered vehicles earmarked for the US. Oil-burning variants of BMW's 3 Series sedan and wagon as well as diesel versions of its X3 and X5 SUVs may soon hit these shores. Zimmer spokeswoman Rebecca Kiehne confirmed to Autoblog that diesel models such as the 328d Sedan, 328d Sports Wagon, X3 xDrive28d, and X5 xDrive35d will start production "shortly." Green Car Reports previously reported on the production plans.

Last July the EPA said it would delay BMW diesel sales in the US because US regulators were taking longer than expected to certify the vehicles. BMW confirmed to Autoblog at the time that certification for the 2017 model year 328d Sedan, 328d Sports Wagon, X3 xDrive28d, and X5 xDrive35d had been held off.

By sending diesel vehicles to the US, Bimmer would be jumping back into the domestic diesel market as Volkswagen continues to sort out the mess caused by its diesel-emissions scandal, in which the automaker was found to have installed software that programs the cars to emit artificially low amounts of emissions while they're being tested. Last week, the VW board approved a $4.3 billion settlement with US authorities as part of a civil and criminal probe. Both VW and Audi haven't sold diesel vehicles in the US since late 2015.

In 2015, BMW diesels accounted for just 4 percent of the cars the German automaker sold in the US. By comparison, diesel-powered vehicles accounted for about 25 percent of Volkswagen's US sales before its diesel-emissions scandal broke in September 2015.

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