NAIAS 2012: More diesels coming to U.S.

  • 10-Jan-2012 02:03 EST
2012 Beetle Black.jpg

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is offered in the U.S. market with a 2.5-L 5-cylinder, a 2.0-L TSI turbocharged 4-cylinder, and a 2.0-L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder TDI diesel engine.

More U.S. consumers are buying diesel-powered passenger vehicles, and more diesel-powered vehicle choices are en route for the U.S. market.

"In 2011, sales of diesel passenger cars rose by 34 percent," Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), said during a VDA Jan. 9 press conference at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

U.S. sales of diesel-fueled cars and light trucks have steadily increased since 2008

"Last year alone, sales of diesel light trucks rose by almost one-quarter," Wissmann said.

Even though the overall U.S. market share of diesel-powered passenger vehicles is low—increasing by 0.4% to 2.6% in 2011—an upward arrow is the expected trajectory for the future.

"We are sure that the clean diesel will continue to expand its share in the coming years," said Wissmann.

Diesel options of the A8 and A6 sedans, as well as the Q5 crossover, will be available in the U.S. market sometime in the next two years, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG, said during Audi's Jan. 9 press conference at NAIAS.

Audi currently offers U.S. consumers the A3 compact car and the Q7 SUV with diesel engines.

While U.S. consumers are buying more diesel-powered vehicles, it is quite different from Europeans' zeal toward a passenger vehicle fitted with a diesel engine. According to Wissmann, "half of all new cars registered in Western Europe are diesels, and half of the diesels in Western Europe are from a German group brand."

On the manufacturing side, German OEMs increased U.S. production of all types of vehicls in 2011 by nearly two-thirds to 466,000 units.

"In addition to VW's plant in Chatttanooga, Tennessee, this was also due in part to the BMW site in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama," said Wissmann.

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