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"The Other Green Engine: Diesel?"

Mainstream mention??? What has this world come to???

Looking for a fuel-efficient alternative to your current gas-guzzler? How about a car that gets 30% better fuel economy, doesn't require a giant battery in the trunk or have to be plugged into the wall, and can travel 600 miles between fill-ups?

Believe it or not, automakers may have a tough time selling those attributes to consumers later this year, when a new generation of diesel-powered vehicles arrives in dealerships. Images from the 1970s--of rattling engines and tailpipes spewing black soot--are hard to shake. And, thanks to superb marketing by Toyota maker of the Prius hybrid, Americans are convinced hybrids are the only green choice available, despite some discussion of diesel cars' potential.

Until now, that was largely true. Aside from heavy-duty pickups, only about 3% of U.S. light-duty vehicles are powered by diesel today. Tougher emissions rules bumped several diesels, like the Jeep Liberty, off the road in recent years. And in some states, like California and New York, diesels aren't sold at all because the state emissions laws are even tougher. (One exception: Mercedes E320 Bluetec--a special version was recently made available in California.)

But a new generation of modern diesels is on its way to all 50 states, led by carmakers based in Europe, where half of all consumers prefer diesels. By late summer, the first of those modern diesels will arrive: the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. VW says it will get over 50 miles per gallon on the highway (40 mpg around town), and can go over 600 miles between fill-ups. Prices will start in the low $20,000s, about $2,000 more than a traditional Jetta.

Later this year, Mercedes, BMW and Audi will bring their own so-called "clean" diesels to the United States. By 2010, availability of diesel-powered cars is expected to jump sharply as other automakers, including Acura and Jeep, begin offering them, too. By 2017, J.D. Power & Associates forecasts 14% of cars sold in the U.S. will have diesel engines. Germany's Robert Bosch, a major supplier of critical diesel components, forecasts diesel penetration in light-duty pickups and SUVs will reach 20% by 2015.

"I'm pretty optimistic this might be just the beginning," says Daimler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche. Daimler's Mercedes division sold 12,500 diesels in the U.S. last year, even without California or New York, its two largest markets. This fall, it will begin selling three SUV models with advanced diesel engines: the ML320 Bluetec, R320 Bluetec and GL320 Bluetec.

Diesel versions of BMW's 3-series sedan and X5 sport utility will also go on sale this fall. Says BMW Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer: "We realized that with the additional weight of a hybrid battery, the miles per gallon is not as good as we thought. We think the better solution at the moment is diesel."

But Reithofer admits BMW made a mistake by not pushing diesels years earlier, when hybrids started grabbing attention. Now, he and Zetsche agree: It will take the combined marketing efforts of all the European carmakers to turn Americans' heads. "We need an action together to sell diesels in the U.S.," says Reithofer.

One likely selling point: performance. Consumers want peppy performance, and thus, tend to buy bigger engines with more horsepower. But the rush you feel when you push the accelerator is thanks to the engine's torque, not its horsepower. A V-6 diesel can deliver as much torque as a larger V-8, with much better fuel economy.

There's another advantage to diesels: Their resale value is two to three times that of a traditional gasoline-powered car. VW spokesman Keith Price, for example, says a 1998 Jetta TDI (diesel) with 175,000 miles is worth $7,500 today. The same car, with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine "is a $2,000 'beater' you'd buy for your teenager."

http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/416/the-other-green-engine-diesel
 

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This is pissing me off, they mention VW coming into the market, VW and Mercedes have been the only diesel cars available in the last 10 years. They mention the resale of used TDIs but they don't mention that there were still 2006 models brand new, on dealer lots last year. There might still be a few in addition to years of used cars. Am I the only one who buys used cars?
 

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Wow, pissed off? :rolleyes:

Think of it this way: since the public doesn't know about all those great TDIs running and holding their value after other cars are "beaters", that's more for you and me!
 

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I just wish that the TDI and the other high mileage cars out there got some recognition. I suppose that the news is here to report on what's NEW. Otherwise it'd be called olds, lol.
 

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"VW says it will get over 50 mpg on the highway"

If this is true, it'll be really cool - more power AND more economy than the last generation.
 
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I think that the common rail system and dual cams are partly why they will be getting more power and economy. But haven't they had these engines in europe for a while already?
 
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Too bad the public still has a negative perception of diesels. There are surveys saying that people would be open to diesels but they still have that bad image in their head.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2008/01/survey-us-new-c.html#more

Survey: US New-Car Shoppers Do Not See Diesels as a Likely Mainstream Powertrain

According to the latest Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research study, only six percent of new-car shoppers in the US think that diesel is most likely to succeed in becoming a mainstream vehicle powertrain type, compared to 40% identifying hybrids, 20% selecting hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and 17% citing flexible-fuel systems.

When asked about their perceptions of diesel engines, nearly half of the in-market new-vehicle shoppers say that diesels are dirty and noisy. In addition, the latest study shows that shoppers increasingly believe that diesel-powered vehicles get poorer fuel mileage than conventional gasoline engines, and fewer consumers are seeing diesels as fuel-efficient.

Interest in diesels is steadily declining among in-market new-vehicle shoppers, while interest in hybrids continues to grow. The gap between shoppers’ interest in diesels versus hybrids has greatly widened particularly in the last month, with the nine-point gap in December 2007 jumping to a 17-point gap in January 2008.

Many automakers are looking toward diesels as a very workable solution for the future, especially in light of the recently passed energy bill, but the results of this study should give them pause and make them realize they need to do a better, more thorough job of winning over the American consumer. Clearly many Americans still think of the dirty diesels of the past and are not aware of the benefits of new clean-diesel technology.

—Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book
While diesel consideration and favorability are declining in the eyes of in-market new-vehicle shoppers, hybrids continue to gain favor. In addition to hybrids being seen as the most viable mainstream powertrain choice, interest in hybrids has steadily increased in recent months, with 61% of shoppers saying they are interested in hybrids in the latest study.

When asked about the premium they are willing to pay for a gas/electric hybrid over a traditional gasoline-powered version of the same vehicle, this month shoppers are willing to pay an average premium of $3,135, up from an average premium of $2,645 a month ago in December 2007.

When asked about which hybrid vehicles they would consider for their next purchase or lease in the latest study, in-market new-vehicle shoppers cite the Honda Civic as most popular with 35%. The next most-popular models are the Ford Escape and Toyota Highlander, each garnering 23%. Toward the bottom of the consideration list is the vehicle that arguably put hybrids on the mainstream map—the Toyota Prius—which only garnered 12% of the consideration.

Prius sales accounted for more than 52% of hybrids sold in the US in 2007.

The latest Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research study was conducted on Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com among in-market new-vehicle shoppers during January 2008. Kbb.com is rated the No. 1 automotive information site by Nielsen//NetRatings and is ranked as the most visited auto site by J.D. Power and Associates eight years in a row. Nearly one in every three American car buyers performs their research on kbb.com.
 

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The problem is that you have to have the cars at the dealership and into people's hands or else they won't change their perception of diesels. That's VW's fault for not giving more products on time and supporting them with good dealer service. I don't think there are enough mercedes benz or jeep liberty owners to make enough of a mass impact - too expensive and too niche. VW has the chance to "own" the diesel market and Honda is going to pick it up if they don't take advantage of it.

Europe has over 50% diesels, why is that? High taxation and high taxes. The US is headed that way too, sooner or later the market will make solutions and the prius so far is getting all the glory.
 

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The survey says only 6% of people think diesel can succeed being a mainstream powerplant and 40% think hybrds will.

I think 40% thinking hybrid technology can succeed is low. I would think 90% would think it can "succeed being a mainstream powerplant" because things are already headed that way. And if you asked me that question I would say "90% sure that diesel hybrids or cars incorporating hybrid technology are in the future". Why diesel OR hybrid, why not diesel hybrid? Now we are talking!
 

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Hybrids cost more, diesel costs more, hybrid diesel will cost a lot more. It would be fun to have a car that could get 75 mpg average regularly but at what cost? Then again, the R32 Golf costs $40,000 out the door so who knows.
 

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Wouldn't it be the perfect match? The hybrid engine would work mostly in city and once you hit the highway, the four cylinder tdi would be perfect.
 

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This can't be right, recent articles that I've read said surveys showed people were open to buying diesels, and now they're not? Actually, it doesn't say they're not interested, it only says that 61% of people are interested in hybrids. It doesn't say what percentage of people are interested in diesels. I smell funny writing.
 

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Good catch. I remember reading somewhere that 60% of people were interested in a diesel. Sometimes the media is just concerned about making a point and then proving that point. If they had listed the full results of the survey, it would tell a broader picture.

It's like push polling and the recent primary elections. "If you knew that diesels were stinky, cost more money to buy, and made your wang fall off from the exhaust, would you consider buying one?"

"How strongly do you feel is the following statement: Because hybrids use less fuel, they save the earth and will make ladies admire you and want to sleep with you. Strongly agree, agree, or don't know enough?"
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's like push polling and the recent primary elections. "If you knew that diesels were stinky, cost more money to buy, and made your wang fall off from the exhaust, would you consider buying one?"

"How strongly do you feel is the following statement: Because hybrids use less fuel, they save the earth and will make ladies admire you and want to sleep with you. Strongly agree, agree, or don't know enough?"
Lol, I would still consider a diesel and I strongly disagree with the above statement.
 
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