Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
April 19, 2012
The diesel car, once considered the dirtiest and worst powertrain in America, is making a large comeback.
According to statistics gathered by the Diesel Technology Forum, diesel vehicles sales are up 35% in the first quarter of 2012. A trend since diesel sales were up 27% the year before. By comparison, the overall U.S. auto market is up 13.% in the same time, and hybrid sales increased 37.2%.
In the big picture, diesels captured 3% of the total U.S. market. That might not seem like a lot, but when compared to hybrids which has seen their total drop from 2.7% to 2.1% in three years, its a lot.
So why the increase in diesels? Partly its due to rising cost of gasoline. But, also its due to the constant improvements that automakers have been doing over the course of thirty years.
“With higher fuel prices, Americans are seeking more fuel efficient cars so it’s understandable that diesel and hybrid cars are showing such impressive sales increases,” says Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, in a statement. ”In addition, the new federal fuel efficiency standards that will required a 54.5 mpg average by 2025 will also boost clean diesel auto sales, as diesel cars are 20 to 40 percent more fuel efficient than gasoline versions.”
Press Release is on Page 2
U.S. Clean Diesel Auto Sales Increase 35 Percent in 1st Quarter of 2012
Hybrid and Electric Car Sales Also Jump Dramatically
Washington, D.C. – Clean diesel automobile sales in the United States increased an impressive 35 percent during the first quarter of 2012 continuing the strong gains in diesel car purchases in 2011, according to new sales information compiled by HybridCars.Com and Baum and Associates.
The U.S. sales of clean diesel autos increased 39.6 percent in March 2012 over March 2011, 42.9 percent in February, and 21.2 percent in January.
During the first quarter, U.S. hybrid car sales increased 37.2 percent and the emerging plug-in electric car market saw a sales increase of 323 percent. The overall automobile market increased 13.4 percent in 2012, according to the new sales information.
Month (2012 v. 2011) Clean Diesel +/- Hybrids +/- Overall Market +/-
March 2012 +39.6% +39.6% +12.7%
February 2012 +42.9% +55.4% +13.8%
January 2012 +21.2% +11.4% +11.5%
(Source: HybridCars.Com and Baum and Associates)
Higher Fuel Prices Have Americans Seeking More Fuel Efficient Cars
"This 35 percent increase in clean diesel auto sales during the first quarter of 2012 is a continuation of the 27 percent sales jump in 2011," said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
"With higher fuel prices, Americans are seeking more fuel efficient cars so it's understandable that diesel and hybrid cars are showing such impressive sales increases. In addition, the new federal fuel efficiency standards that will required a 54.5 mpg average by 2025 will also boost clean diesel auto sales, as diesel cars are 20 to 40 more fuel efficient than gasoline versions.
Clean Diesel Autos Are Among the Most Environmentally Friendly Available
"American drivers are also recognizing the environmental benefits of the new clean diesel technology," Schaeffer said. "Earlier this month, the Mercedes-Benz S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY clean diesel received the prestigious '2012 World Green Car' award during the New York International Auto Show. This followed the January announcement that the Volkswagen Passat TDI clean diesel had been selected the '2012 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year for Most Earth Friendly' automobile.
"I expect clean diesel auto sales to increase further as several new diesel cars are introduced in the U.S. market in the next year," Schaeffer said.
Numerous New Clean Diesel Autos to Soon Be Available In U.S.
The 2012 Porsche Cayenne clean diesel has just been introduced into the U.S. market and the following auto makers have announced plans to sell additional new clean diesel autos in the U.S.:
Audi announced that it would be selling an Audi A6, A8 and Q5 TDI diesel in the U.S. in 2013. The A4 may still see a diesel version in 2014 or even as early as 2013.
Chrysler announced that it will be introducing a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel in 2013 or 2014, and possibly other Jeep diesels later. They also plan a new version of the discontinued Dakota pickup that will include a diesel, but timing is uncertain.
Ford will offer diesel and gasoline engines in the new Transit full-size commercial van that goes on sale in the U.S. next year.
General Motors announced that a diesel version of the Cadillac ATS would available in the U.S. in the near future. A diesel version of the hot-selling Chevrolet Cruze will begin sales in the U.S. in 2013.
Mazda will become the first Asian car manufacturer to sell diesel cars in the U.S. when it introduces its SKYACTIV-D 2.2-liter clean diesel engine here.
The Mercedes S350 BlueTEC marks the return of the diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz S-Class to the United States in 2012 after a 17-year absence. Mercedes also still plans to bring a diesel in the GLK and C-class for a total of eight diesel models by 2014.
The newly redesigned 2012 VW Beetle will once again feature a TDI diesel version with the possible introduction of a Tiguan diesel later.
See a list of all the Clean Diesel Vehicles Currently Available in the U.S.
ABOUT THE DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.