When the Obama Administration announced tougher fuel economy standards for vehicles back in August, much of the focus surrounded gasoline-powered cars and trucks.
But for Allen Schaeffer, executive director for the Diesel Technology Forum (www.dieselforum.org), these requirements will increase the growing popularity of diesel vehicles in the U.S., something he is excited about.
“Because clean diesel autos are 20% to 40% more efficient than gasoline vehicles, diesel will be a major player in the nation’s effort to achieve the new mileage standards.”
Schaeffer said this is good news to manufacturers and suppliers of clean diesel technology who will “play an expanded role in improving fuel economy of the fleet needed to achieve the 54.5 mpg level by 2025 as mandated by the new greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards.”
The result will be an increase in diesel service opportunities for your shops. It may be a good idea to have some of your techs become ASE certified in diesel engine diagnostics, which you can market to your diesel-driving customers.
“Meeting these fuel efficiency targets will likely require diverse technology solutions and we’re extremely confident that clean diesel technology is one of those solutions,” Schaeffer said. “American consumers are already showing us they are interested in more clean diesel passenger vehicles.”
In fact, in the first six months of 2012, clean diesel automobile sales in the U.S. increased 27.5%, according to sales information compiled by HybridCars.com and Baum and Associates.
While clean diesel auto and light truck sales total only about 3% of the total U.S. passenger car and small truck market, the steady double-digit monthly sales increases show a definite trend of interest in diesels.
“This renewed interested in diesels is also reflected in increased domestic sales in 22 of the past 23 months,” Schaeffer said. “With more than 15 new diesel autos to be introduced in the U.S. market in the next two years, I expect diesel sales will increase significantly in the coming years.”
A recent Pike Research study forecasts that sales of these light-duty clean diesel vehicles will increase from 282,000 vehicles in 2012 to 928,000 by 2018.
While current Clean Diesel vehicles include pick-up trucks from the domestic automakers, diesel cars from the European manufacturers include the Audi A3 and Q7 TDI models, BMW 335D and X5 xDrive35d, Mercedes-Benz E350, ML350, GL350 and R350 BlueTEC diesels, and VW Beetle, Golf, Jetta, Passat and Touareg TDI models.
New vehicles with diesel engines introduced into the U.S. market in the next two years include Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee Ecodiesel in 2014, along with a new version of the discontinued Dakota pickup that will include a diesel.
Ford will offer a new diesel Transit full-size commercial van in 2013 and GM will offer a Cadillac ATS diesel and a diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze in 2013.
Mazda will become the only Asian car manufacturer to sell diesel cars in the U.S. when it introduces its SKYACTIV-D 2.2L clean diesel engine next year.