Audi A3 TDI clean diesel - European modelEnlarge Photo
Diesel models may account for half of all vehicle sales in Europe but in the U.S. their numbers still hover around the 3% mark. As fuel prices gradually increase in time, however, American consumers will inevitably seek alternatives to gasoline powered models in greater numbers.
One of the more popular alternatives will likely be diesel, due to availability of the fuel source and infrastructure, as well as the diesel engine’s high torque characteristics and excellent economy.
One of the major proponents of diesel fuel in the U.S. is Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, who stated that American consumers will get more clean diesels--but they will pay a premium for them. Stadler explained that diesel roll-out in the U.S. would require a very high level of investment and that there is no guarantee of a return on the investment--one of the primary reasons we don’t have as great a diesel offering as Europe currently enjoys.
As mentioned, things will eventually change. Audi’s U.S. chief Johan de Nysschen predicts that as much as 20 to 25% of the automaker’s local sales will feature diesel powertrains in the foreseeable future. Audi’s first diesel sold in the U.S., the Q7 TDI, already accounts for 35% of Q7 sales and has proven so popular that they were sold out.
The share is even higher for the A3 TDI subcompact, he added.
It appears diesel is here to stay and we will only see more options available once more and more consumers realize the benefits of the oil-burners.
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