The first ever joint promotion campaign by German automakers to promote clean diesel vehicles in the U.S. was welcomed with the hope that it can accelerate current market successes for domestic clean diesel vehicle sales, according to Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
The new promotional diesel campaign was announced in Berlin by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and member companies – Audi, BMW, Bosch, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen.
"We welcome this new effort to raise awareness of American car buyers to all of the benefits of the new generation of clean diesel technology," Schaeffer said. "People who know about the new clean diesel technology are extremely impressed by the improved fuel efficiency, power and lower emissions over gasoline and hybrid autos."
The slogan "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." was unveiled along with the promotional effort's new Website – www.clearlybetterdiesel.org – which includes information highlighting the advantages of modern clean diesel passenger cars over gasoline engines "in terms of cleanliness, consumption and performance," according to VDA.
"The success of diesel technology is well documented in Western Europe where 55 percent of all new auto sales are clean diesels. Even though diesels represent a more modest 3 percent of all new vehicle sales in the U.S., we're in the midst of a resurgence of diesel in America and can easily see this percentage doubling and tripling in the next five to 10 years," said Schaeffer.
"Today's clean diesels are fast, efficient, and clean - a far cry from previous diesels in the 1970s and 1980s. Consumers are taking to new clean diesels for their long-term green value as evidenced by diesel sales increases of 24.5 percent through November 2012 compared to 2011, according to Hybrid Cars.com and Baum and Associates. Diesel sales have increased in 27 of the past 28 months in year-over-year sales, with 24 of these months showing double-digit increases. In addition, sales increased by 20 percent or better in 20 of the past 28 months.
"The growing role that clean diesel technology will play here in the U.S. meeting federal fuel economy goals is evident by the anticipated major increase in the number of diesel offerings that will be available in the U.S. in the next 12 to 18 months," Schaeffer said.
"With higher and fluctuating fuel prices, Americans are seeking more fuel efficient cars," Schaeffer said. "The new U.S. federal fuel efficiency standards that will required a 54.5 mpg average by 2025 will significantly boost clean diesel auto sales because diesel cars are 20 to 40 percent more fuel efficient than gasoline versions."
Schaeffer said the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that compared to 2012 the price of diesel fuel will decline by about 3 percent in 2013 to $3.83/gallon.
Schaeffer said a number of additional diesels will be available soon in the U.S. including:
- Audi A6, A7, A8 and Q5 TDI diesels will be available in 2013 joining the Q7 and A3 TDI to bring Audi's diesel offerings to a total of six. A TDI clean diesel A4 version is also expected in 2014 or early as 2013.
- BMW announced that the U.S. market will see a 2.0-liter four cylinder diesel and 3.0-liter inline six diesel engine in the next 12 months.
- Chrysler will introduce its new 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.
- General Motors 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 2.2-liter clean diesel engine.
- The Mercedes S350 BlueTEC marks the return of the diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz S-Class to the United States in 2012. Mercedes also plans to bring a diesel in the GLK and C-class for a total of eight diesel models by 2014.
- 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.