US motorists are "warming" to the idea of diesel cars, says VW's US chief, which is being led by the success of the new Passat TDI
27 November 2013

The take-up of diesel-powered models in the USA has surprised diesel market leader Volkswagen, according to Jonathan Browning, chief of the manufacturer’s American operation.

Volkswagen of America currently dominates the light-duty vehicle diesel market in the USA, holding a 72 per cent market share, which represents about 90,000 cars per year.

In the year up until the end of October, diesel vehicles represented 22 per cent of Volkswagen of America’s total sales, which far exceeded its expectations.

Key to that growth has been the introduction of the oilburning Passat TDI, which was the first diesel in the mid-size saloon market in the US.

“Our going-in assumption, because we were going to have to conquest a lot of customers from competitors, was that those customers would be very wedded to petrol powertrains,” said Browning.

“We thought the step to convert them to the Volkswagen brand was going to be a fairly substantial step in itself, and then it would be an even bigger step to convert to diesel. 

“In fact, because it is such a compelling offer – almost 800 miles range, and with the typical US driving profile, it is possible to get even better-than-published fuel economy with the diesel because there’s a lot of highway driving – customers are just raving about it.

“Our original forecast was for 17 per cent of Passat sales to be diesels, but in fact it is running closer to 30 per cent.

“The US consumer is definitely warming to the notion of diesels. It is an important part of who we are in the market place,” said Browning.

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Comments
13

27 November 2013
From a decrepit speed freak who has covered over 2.5 million miles in a mix of Petrol and Diesel powered transport. I prefer a Diesel Donk to Petrol power for almost all everyday motoring. Am hooked on the high torque and low rpm levels that make the driving process more relaxed than highly strung Petrol engines. Not that I do not get a high from petrol powered sports machinery - but not for cooking A to B travel.

Malo Mori Quam Foedari

27 November 2013
I agree.

27 November 2013
Which is why either Rolls-Royce or its customers are idiots - they'd want an ugly SUV but not a diesel Phantom, no matter how refined?

27 November 2013
But the latest petrol turbo cars offer higher power and larger torque band than diesels at even lower rpm. For example the Passat estate petrol 1.4 has peak torque at 1500rpm.

27 November 2013
[quote=Turismo]But the latest petrol turbo cars offer higher power and larger torque band than diesels at even lower rpm. For example the Passat estate petrol 1.4 has peak torque at 1500rpm.[/quote] But they don't quite have the same economy.

27 November 2013
[quote=Turismo]But the latest petrol turbo cars offer higher power and larger torque band than diesels at even lower rpm. For example the Passat estate petrol 1.4 has peak torque at 1500rpm.[/quote] In the USA, which the article is about, the Passat, US made, is only available with three engines. These are 2.5 litre 5 cylinder petrol with 170 hp, 1.8T 4 cylinder petrol with 170hp and auto box plus the 2.0 litre diesel with 140hp. The diesel gives far better official fuel consumption figures of 43 US mpg highway than the petrol 34 mpg highway and as the article says, in real use, the difference is even greater.

maxecat

27 November 2013
I dont deny that over high miles per year, diesel is cheaper. Average miles (12k) or less and petrol cheaper. But driving a diesel is not a better experience in my view. Also they are more polluting.

28 November 2013
[quote=Turismo]But the latest petrol turbo cars offer higher power and larger torque band than diesels at even lower rpm. For example the Passat estate petrol 1.4 has peak torque at 1500rpm.[/quote] Yes, it has peak torque at 1500rpm, but it lacks the mid range pull and in-gear performance of a Diesel. [quote=Turismo]I dont deny that over high miles per year, diesel is cheaper. Average miles (12k) or less and petrol cheaper. But driving a diesel is not a better experience in my view. Also they are more polluting.[/quote] No they are not. Diesels are fitted with partical filters and they give off substantially less carbon than petrol equivilents. Plus, I don't do a lot of miles, but I still have a Diesel powered car (a 1.5L Nissan Juke) and I visit the pumps far less frequently than I did with my previous petrol car.

28 November 2013
In 2012 14,400,000 cars were sold in the USA this year that figure will rise again. Even if VW did actually sell 90000 diesel powered cars this year that is far less than 1% of total car sales in the USA. Electric cars sell in larger numbers than diesel cars in the USA. Last year 440000 electric cars were sold in the USA. Almost 5 times as many cars as VW diesels. The Americans do not like diesel. Anyone who thinks that they are "warming" to them on the figures in the article is delusional. Ultimately the environmental damage caused by Diesel engines will result in their demise. Petrol will last longer because of new small capacity turbo- charged engines which are cleaner and nearly as economical as diesel but hybrid then fuel cells will replace them too.

28 November 2013
[quote=spqr]In 2012 14,400,000 cars were sold in the USA this year that figure will rise again. Even if VW did actually sell 90000 diesel powered cars this year that is far less than 1% of total car sales in the USA. Electric cars sell in larger numbers than diesel cars in the USA. Last year 440000 electric cars were sold in the USA. Almost 5 times as many cars as VW diesels. The Americans do not like diesel. Anyone who thinks that they are "warming" to them on the figures in the article is delusional. Ultimately the environmental damage caused by Diesel engines will result in their demise. Petrol will last longer because of new small capacity turbo- charged engines which are cleaner and nearly as economical as diesel but hybrid then fuel cells will replace them too.[/quote] Again, I don't see where the "more polluting" aspect comes from. They give off fewer emissions than petrol.

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