Author Topic: Automakers warming up to diesel-powered cars  (Read 2549 times)

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Offline Jeffy

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Automakers warming up to diesel-powered cars
« on: June 07, 2005, 03:34:37 PM »
Automakers warming up to diesel-powered cars
Consumer buy-in likely will depend on selling new image

Chris Woodyard
May 9, 2005

LOS ANGELES - After watching rising gas prices fuel demand for gasoline-electric hybrids, some automakers are hoping diesels will be next.

And as they fine-tune the technology, they got a boost from President Bush, who said he wants diesel-power passenger vehicles to get a tax break, similar to the deduction for gas-electric hybrid vehicles.

If consumers warm up to diesels - no sure bet - automakers want to be ready:

DaimlerChrysler says 60,000 consumers indicated early interest in the diesel version of its Jeep Liberty SUV. It expects to make 5,000 this year and hinted that it can produce more if the demand remains strong.

Volkswagen is in the process of rolling out a diesel version of its new Jetta.

BMW, Honda and Subaru are working on diesels that could go on sale in the United States in the next few years.

Ford Motor and the Environmental Protection Agency are working on a project to create a sophisticated, extremely low-emissions diesel engine.

Diesels use 20 percent to 40 percent less fuel than comparable gasoline engines. And diesel fuel coming to market starting later this year will have lower sulfur content, reducing emissions dramatically.

Bush's proposal, included in a speech last week, "gives producers added confidence that incentives are available," says Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum trade group.

Still, consumers might resist. Some harbor bad memories of Detroit's balky diesel car engines in the 1980s. And diesels haven't whipped up the kind of excitement that surrounds gasoline-electric hybrids.

A Kelley Blue Book/Harris Interactive poll in March found only one-third of car shoppers surveyed said they would be willing to consider a diesel, in contrast to nearly two-thirds - 65 percent - who said they would consider a hybrid.

Last year, more than 12 percent of Volkswagen's U.S. sales were diesel versions of four models: the Passat midsize sedan and the New Beetle, Golf and Jetta small cars. Volkswagen has yet to offer a diesel version of its SUV, the Touareg, in the United States.

DaimlerChrysler began offering a diesel Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI last year. To show it off, Mercedes drove some E320s around a track in Laredo, Texas, for the past month, logging 100,000 miles on one before the test ended Sunday. Mercedes sold about 4,100 of the sedans last year, 1,100 more than expected, spokesman Rob Moran says.
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Automakers warming up to diesel-powered cars
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2005, 05:50:23 PM »
I really don't think people will resist the diesel vehicles.  For one thing, they aren't as expensive as the hybrids.  ALL automakers already have a diesel engine running somewhere around the world, which means we won't have to pay for all the R&D involved with hybrids.


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Automakers warming up to diesel-powered cars
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2005, 06:34:46 PM »
It's ashame it's taking so long for diesel's to be available in all cars,
Basically any car in europe as a diesel option,
Where is hte diesel/electric hybrid,
can't cost much more than a gas verion and be mpg,
A simple 3 cyl would be nice,



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Automakers warming up to diesel-powered cars
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2005, 06:28:24 AM »
All I can say is if Jeep puts a diesel in the Wrangler I will have me one.


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Automakers warming up to diesel-powered cars
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2005, 08:25:13 AM »
Car and Driver had a different angle on the diesel vs. gas debate in its issue a couple of months back.  It touched on things I'd heard of and considered in trucks, but not so much in cars.

Basically, diesels make a lot more sense in Europe with regards to economics.  Immense fuel taxes make the diesels attractive as the fuel savings pay for the added drivetrain cost.  In the U.S., this isn't the case.  Market pricing rather than the tax structure drives fuel choices.  It's not as clear that you'll actually save money with the diesel.

But, then, if you keep vehicles forever like I do, then you likely would save $$$ over the long run.

In short, it was some neat food for thought and really highlighted how much of an individual consideration it is-- miles driven annually, how long you own a vehicle, what the open market price will do, towing needs, etc.