Diesel engine sales have stagnated in the U.S. due largely to lingering perceptions of the clattering, foul smelling contraptions of the 1970s and earlier. It hasn’t helped that many carmakers have been reluctant to even offer them because of the relatively high cost of emissions certification and small profit margins. This has had the compounded effect of artificially inflating the price of diesel models and nixing any savings made from reduced fuel consumption (in the short term at least).

Several carmakers are starting to offer diesels, taking advantage of recently introduced tax incentives, but many like Nissan and Acura are still undecided. Both companies promised to bring new diesel models to the U.S. by the end of the decade, but one has already pulled out and the other is reconsidering its plans.

Nissan first confirmed to launch a clean-diesel Maxima sedan in the U.S. as far back as 2007 but those plans may be in jeopardy. Speaking with AutoObserver, a spokesman for the company said the original plans are under review and that there will be potentially some "delays or cancelations".

The diesel engine in question is a 3.0L V6 turbo developed jointly with Renault for roughly $245 million. It’s rated at 235hp (175kW) and offers fuel-economy of about 33mpg (7.2L/100km) in a sedan similar in size to the Maxima. In Europe, Nissan is expected to use the engine for the Pathfinder and Navara as well as the Infiniti FX, EX and G37.