Currently reading: Volkswagen bosses surprised by US diesel take-up
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
Matt Burt
News
2 mins read
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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spqr 28 November 2013

Diesel Emissions

Thank you to Tourismo for pointing out the harmful natture of diesel emissions. It should also be noted that the EU7 emissions standard due to come into force within the next few years is to include NOx emissions and particulate emissions as well as CO2. This is effectively the death knell for diesel engines as it will become increasingly expensive to get diesel engines through the emissions tests thus adding tothe cost of the car. In small cars (with low profit margins) it may become uneconomic for manufacturers to offer a diesel variant. In mid-size cars the profit margin calculation may come down to intangibles such as "brand" and "image" to determine if a profit can be made. Audi A3 and A4 type cars may continue to be offered with a diesel engine whereas the Focus and Mondeo type cars may not. Ultimately the tightening emissions regulations will end diesel engine production due to the essential nature of the fuel. Of course petrol engines will follow diesels into the grave eventually but not for a decade or two more. Autocar has run a number of articles pointing this out over the last couple of years the latest was on 13 Oct 13. This is quite likely one of the reasons Roll-Royce will not offer a diesel engine. Their model cycles are 10 years long or more whereas most other cars have a 4 to 7 year model cycle. Rolls-Royce would not want to risk the cost of engineering a diesel variant which will not last out the model cycle of the next Phantom. Also the take up for a diesel Rolls-Royce would likely be exceptionally low so the cost of development would never be recouped anyway. Having owned a 2012 Mercedes V6 diesel CLS I can understand why a diesel Rolls-Royce would not be appropriate since no matter how well sound-proofed a diesel engine is it is still inherently noisy and has unwanted vibrations in a luxury car. The CLS was only ever "refined" once warmed through and cruising on a motorway. Sat in traffic or around town it sounded like a taxi. The main advance in diesel engined cars' refinement over the last decade has mostly been in realtion to sound-proofing and not the running characteristics of the diesel engine itself.
benanderson89 29 November 2013

spqr wrote: Thank you to

spqr wrote:
Thank you to Tourismo for pointing out the harmful natture of diesel emissions. It should also be noted that the EU7 emissions standard due to come into force within the next few years is to include NOx emissions and particulate emissions as well as CO2.
Again, particle filters exist on diesel engines to deal with particulates and EURO 5 ALREADY COVERS THIS. Euro 6 (seven isn't due for a LONG time) due out in September 2014 does not change the required Particulate levels. Both petrol and diesel under Euro 5 and Euro 6 require a PM rating of 0.005 - both Diesel and Patrol meet this standard. NOx is already covered under Euro 6 which is due to in September 2014. Euro 6 does require lower NOx from Diesel (0.08) to levels akin with Petrol (0.06) but the level of NOx from modern diesels has fallen dramatically over the years. The NOx of a BMW 3 Series from the year 2000 had a NOx level of 0.134g/km - at the time, Euro 3 required Diesel engines to be 0.5g/km - it means that an engine from 2000 was able to meet the NOx standard of Euro 5 (0.180g/km) NINE YEARS LATER. So no, you are talking absolute rubbish. NOx and Particles are not "the end of Diesel" because Diesel technology is far better than you think.
Turismo 28 November 2013

Carbon or the dioxide CO2 is

Carbon or the dioxide CO2 is not classified as a pollutant emission in EU regulations. it's just a harmless gas. The legally regulated pollutants are harmful to human health, of which diesel emissions produce more.
spqr 28 November 2013

Delusional

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.
benanderson89 28 November 2013

spqr wrote: In 2012

spqr wrote:
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.
Again, I don't see where the "more polluting" aspect comes from. They give off fewer emissions than petrol.