Despite their low popularity in the eyes of local buyers, analysts are predicting sales of the efficient vehicles to more than triple in coming years but prices are expected to remain high. This is because automakers will be increasing the number of diesel models they sell as they try to reach the 2016 35.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) target set by the federal government.
Modern diesels usually deliver fuel economy one-third to one-fifth better than that of a gasoline engine of similar power. They're also appealing to drive, due to their copious low-end torque, and it's often impossible to tell from behind the wheel that there's a diesel under the hood.
One of the leaders in this field is Audi, which already offers diesel engines in its A3 hatchback and Q7 SUV. Audi plans to rapidly expand its diesel offerings in the U.S., promising that every model will be available with a diesel option by 2015.
The information was revealed by Audi’s U.S. chief, Johan de Nysschen, who spoke recently with Automotive News.
He explained that demand for diesel in Audi showrooms is outstripping supply. Nearly half of A3 sales in the U.S. are for the TDI model and the for the Q7, diesel accounts for almost 40 percent of sales. By the promised 2015 deadline, Nysschen is predicting that diesel will account for up to 20 percent of Audi's total sales in the U.S. compared with 5.5 percent today.
Next in line to receive a diesel option will be the A8 and A6 sedans, followed by the Q5 crossover. The A4 isn’t expected to receive a diesel until the next-generation model arrives in 2015.