By on January 11, 2012

A non-profit group backed by some major OEMs sent out a press release claiming that diesel vehicle sales are up by 27 percent in 2011 while hybrid sales are down by 2.2 percent. So, D’s up, hoes hybrids down while you motherf***ers bounce to this?

As I worked on assembling data to see whether the increased number of diesel cars available was responsible for the jump (the Passat TDI can’t be the only new entry in the diesel market, can it) commenter PCH101 astutely pointed out in another thread

“…diesels comprised 0.4% of the US car market, while hybrids were 4.3% of the market…If diesels gained 27% for 2011, then diesel sales now total a whopping 0.5% of the market. For every one sold, 199 other vehicles would have been powered by something else.”

As someone who consistently received D’s in math classes, I salute PCH 101 for his research. A look at the graphic above, showing who is behind the Diesel Technology Forum shows that this “non-profit” has a huge stake in the financial success consumer acceptance of diesels. Diesel sales were actually down 0.1 percent in 2010 compared to the previous year, so the 2011 numbers are a net gain of zero. On the other hand, Hybrid sales doubled from 2009-2010, from 2.3% to 4.3% of market share.

Other blogs failed to do the sort of number crunching that PCH beat me to you see here, which suits the Diesel Technology Forum just fine. If everyone else just re-blogs press releases mindlessly while waiting for their next press car to get dropped off at their home, then the public digests the out-of-context information as a soundbite, and with oil-burning variants of the Mazda CX-5, Cadillac ATS, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevrolet Cruze and Mercedes-Benz S-Class all due out in the next couple of years, mindless acceptance of their party line is a good thing for the OEMs pushing diesel cars.

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47 Comments on “Diesel Sales Up 27 Percent In The U.S., Says OEM-Sponsored Advocacy Group...”

  • avatar

    You are far better at this than me, I must say. Math is not my strong point.

    Way to represent Gen Y.

    • 0 avatar

      I got consistent D’s in math. Thank PCH.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t thank me too much. I didn’t bother to adjust the numbers for the increase in the SAAR during 2011.

        Per Kelley Blue Book, total vehicle sales were up 15.5% during 2011 (11.6M vs. 13.4M). If diesel sales were up by 27% during the same period and diesel market share was 0.4% during 2010, then much of the 2011 increase would be accounted for by the overall increase in vehicle purchases, more so than by a shift to diesel away from other alternatives.

        So the market share of 0.5% might even be a bit overstated. In my haste, I may have unintentionally implied that every additional sale contributed to an increase in market share, but that would not be accurate.

      • 0 avatar

        You might want to check your data and math again.

        There is a longer post (by me ;)) below – but basically, the EPA numbers (which are for MY’s btw, though that won’t explain all the differences) do do not reflect the real sales of Diesel and Hybrid vehicles as reported by the manufacturers. In fact, they don’t even match the overall sales numbers.

        Also SAAR would be the wrong measure to use if you want to adjust the numbers, you will want to adjust for the actual numbers of vehicles sold in a year, not the SAAR of a certain month…

      • 0 avatar

        SAAR would be the wrong measure to use if you want to adjust the numbers

        That’s complete nonsense.

        Of course the SAAR has to be included in a market share calculation. “Share” is a percentage. A percentage is a comparison of the fraction to the whole.

        If one wants to know diesel “market share”, then one must know (a) the total number of diesels sold and the compare it to (b) the total number of vehicles sold. There is no way, under any estimation, to conclude that this comprises a high number of vehicles in the US. A drop in the bucket.

        And it would be dishonest to ignore the growth in the overall market that occurred over the same period. As 2011 was a recovery year and car sales are highly cyclical, the increase in the SAAR was considerable and should be noted.

      • 0 avatar

        First of all: Check out my larger post somewhere below, because I do point out more problems with the math/data used here.

        Second: Do you know what SAAR is? Because you are right, you have to use total number of diesel vehicles and total number of all vehicles sold in 2011 (as I point out below, the EPA numbers reflect neither of those sales!).

        SAAR however is not the number of cars sold in a year. It is the “Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate” – basically a figure that says how many cars you’d sell in a year based on the months sale dividied by a product specific-seasonality factor. ( has a formula and those factors if you’d like a look).

        For calculating market share, you just want the number of vehicles actually sold in a single year. For 2011, that number is about 12.9 million.

      • 0 avatar

        For calculating market share, you just want the number of vehicles actually sold in a single year.

        Did you not read my post? “Per Kelley Blue Book, total vehicle sales were up 15.5% during 2011 (11.6M vs. 13.4M).”

        You can try to spin it however you like, but diesel sales are tiny. Even after a 27% increase, they are still tiny.

        The total number of “clean diesels” sold in the US last year was less than the sales of just the Prius alone, in spite of those sales lost due to the tsunami disruptions. Hardly anybody buys them. Get over it.

      • 0 avatar

        There are two different issues – that the EPA numbers do not fit the real market shares as reported and that you want to use SAAR to calculate market shares.

        First of all: SAAR-numbers do not equal actual sale numbers. (BTW: Did you not read anything I wrote above???)

        KBB reported a December SAAR of 13.4 million vehicles. That does not mean that 13.4 million vehicles were sold in 2011. In fact, the KBB-report itself stated in a quite simple way that “December Closes at 13.4 Million SAAR, 12.8 Million Total Sales for 2011;”. (Link:

        SAAR is not the same as cars sold in a year – which is why you can not use SAAR-numbers to calculate any kind of market share.

        That however does not explain the differences between Diesel/Hybrid marketshare as you can calculate them from the reported numbers and the EPA numbers. That seems to be a different issue. And yes, the numbers are very small, but still – this is basically an article praising someone for “doing the math” – when the data on which the math is (correctly) done is basically wrong. I do not want to somehow say that Diesel cars are bigger (or even beter) in the US – they clearly aren’t. But the marketshares written above are also not correct. To quote myself:

        In 2010, 78.000 Diesel cars were sold by the german manufacturers alone ( ) in a market of 11.6 million light vehicles – making for at least 0.65% diesel share without taking into accounts Diesel of any other manufacturer.

        If those numbers grew 27%, there were 100k Diesel cars sold, in a light vehicle market of 12.8 million cars – making for 0.8% market share.

        Regarding Hybrid:
        According to in 2011 there were 268,807 hybrids sold in the US. In a light vehicle market of 12.8 million, this is a 2.1% market share, not a 4.x share.

  • avatar

    Astroturfing works better than lobbying works better than advertising works better than PR works better than … truth.
    Next step: “American Mothers for Clean Diesel”

  • avatar

    Diesel is as diesel does.

    Diesel lovers can thank 1980s GM for doing to the US reputation of diesels what the Hindenburg did for hydrogen.

    If diesels weren’t chronically powering unreliable (VW) and/or expensive (MB) cars, they might get some traction in the US market.

    If diesels didn’t stink so much, they might get some traction in the US market. [I know they’re improving, but still…]

    If the cost of diesel fuel and the engine cost premium didn’t wipe out most of the economy gains found by using it, diesels might get some traction in the US market.

    • 0 avatar

      Diesel lovers cannot blame the 2.8L for “reputation”. Consumers are not that dumb. In fact diesels have a whole lot of issues, the chief of which is cost, that being driven only up by the NOx and particular emission mandates. There are also reliability, cost of heavy fuel, and only down the bottom is reliability. Heck, I have never seen one of those magically bad GM diesels that ruined the “reputation” in my life. I saw a broken F-250 with diesel that could not start, 30 miles from the nearest human settlement.

      • 0 avatar

        I think you mean the 350 (5.7L) diesel; at least that’s what I was referring to.

        I am a moderate fan of diesels, actually, and have never thought of them as particularly unreliable. Perhaps I’m wrong on this point.

        The VW diesel club is practically a cult, and the zombie-like devotion of its fans to diesels may actually scare some consumers away. The specter of a starry-eyed diesel fan driving a rusty 82 Rabbit diesel doesn’t help advertise the modern diesel very well.

      • 0 avatar

        I do not think that modern diesels are particularly unreliable, comparatively speaking. Examples exist that are not durable enough, here I mean Mercedes and some of Cummins offerings. But they are not as bulletproof as they used to be back when the throttle twisted pistons in the high-pressure pump.

      • 0 avatar

        Diesels are not unreliable at all. Is just that we’re only exposed to the ones that are not ( VW, Mercedes) or were ( GMs of the 80s) reliable. If we were exposed to Japanese diesels such as Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, some of us could change out tune. I don’t know but I find it “magical” that I could drive a regular, good size car and get 50-52 mpg hwy all day long without breaking a sweat. I also don’t care that I have to pay 15-20 cents/gal more than premium fuel either. I keep my cars at least 7-8 years and I drive 20k/year so I can normally make up the difference.
        I went to Europe last year and I drove the father-in-law’s 2008 Hyundai Accent 1.5 l CRDI. Yes, it’s a small car, but I was getting 60-62 mpg with the A/C on doing 65 mph. The car was about 11,500 euros and came well equipped ( a/C, CD, pwr doors/windows, ABS, fog lights). The car had about 25K miles on it and drove like a dream. You could hear the diesel clatter just barely but the car had almost no insulation ( remember it was the Accent which is the cheapest model).

        I know it isn’t the right comparison, but I have a co-worker who bought a Prius for $24K. He likes to hyper-mile. He turns the A/C off (Florida), lights off, radio off, and drives behind 18 wheelers. The best he ever got was 53 mpg. I would rather have the Hyundai…or even the new Passat.
        The biggest issue that diesels have in US is cost because of gov’t regulations. The current administration would like to see everyone driving electric cars sooner rather than later. If they would let “the cat out of the bag” and people would find out that they can get 50-60 mpg hwy out of regular diesels, who would buy hybrids? They would become exclusive boutique cars for the Hollywood elites and members of Sierra Club. This I would say is the biggest issue that diesel face: the EPA. The other issues are relatively minor and easy to overcome.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      In fairness — as a 1980 Audi diesel owner (purchased new), I don’t think GM deserves all of the blame. Of the diesels tossed into the US market at the time, only the stone-age simple Mercedes 240 D proved reliable as a rock (although I think the Mercedes 3-liter, 5 cylinder engine in turbo and non-turbo form also did pretty well). The rest of the diesels loosed on America — from Volkswagen, Audi, and Volvo (actually a VW-sourced motor) — as well as the GM engines all sucked and were a total fail at reliability. And the reason they sucked was shared with the reason GM’s diesels sucked — they were all “dieselized” versions of existing gasoline engines (with the possible exception of the diesel in the Volvo).

      Of course all of the diesels of the era had other common negative issues: smoking, slow starting in freezing or below freezing temperatures, noise, smell and a general inability to generate significant torque at speeds much over 3000 rpm.

      Today’s diesels have eliminated most of those problems. But they have yet to prove reliability on a par with the old Mercedes engines (which were far simpler than today’s motors) and, around here at least, diesel fuel is the same price or more than premium gasoline and about 25% more than regular gasoline.

      The only way I would consider a diesel today is if I did a huge amount of highway driving, which is where they excel. . . and I was convinced they would not eat me up in repairs and maintenance.

      • 0 avatar

        You’re kidding, right? The VW 1.6l (1981+, which had larger head bolts than the 1.5l did) diesel was one of the most bulletproof, simple, and long-lasting engines of that era, PROVIDED that you 1) changed the timing belt on schedule, and 2) didn’t overheat it. I had one, and know several families who easily got 200-300K miles on them with proper maintenance before a rebuild was necessary.

        Their biggest demise was caused by owners (many of whom had never owned a car with a timing belt before) who drove them until the timing belt failed. Or didn’t change the oil, sticking the rings. Or didn’t maintain the cooling system, causing overheating and subsequent head gasket failure. Lack of proper maintenance, duh!

        The Isuzu and Nissan diesels of that era were also very reliable. There are still a good number of 1980s VW and Isuzu diesels driving out here in the PNW, I see at least one or two Rabbit diesels in traffic every week.

      • 0 avatar

        I was in Munich last weekend on business. I rode in three separate Mercedes E class diesel taxis and always sat next to the driver where I was able to look at the mileage.

        The first E class was a pre-facelift W210 (mid 1990s model) E class. No rattles, no rust and over 680,000 km on the odometer. Usually taxi duty ends at 250,000 km when these cars are sold at dumping prices to Eastern Europeans. In this case the driver is self-employed and has no plans of parting with this car.

        The other two E classes were W211s with about 200,000+ km on their backs (forgot the exact mileage, was definitely over 200,000 km).

        These engines run virtually all day and night and have to endure bumper-to-bumper traffic, stop-and-go situations all day, every week, all month, all year round. City traffic is punishment for a car and its components. And these E classes are holding up well. Very well in fact.

        I currently have a TDI Jetta but I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a Mercedes diesel as my next car. I am Swiss by the way and live in Switzerland.

    • 0 avatar


      By the time Euro or Japanese diesels get to the US with 50 state emissions, they lose a great deal of MPG and reliability. That plus the imperial gallon is 20% bigger and Euro MPG testing/ratings are more optimistic than the EPA. Yes diesels last longer but are less reliable along the way because of their complexity and your regular indie mechanic will send you to a specialist.

      • 0 avatar

        Those numbers I gave you were a translation from liters per 100Km I was getting for the month I drove the Hyundai to North American gallons, not imperial. I am not sure what hyundai is saying in their brochures as for fuel consumption, but I calculated myself using the fuel pump method. Remember, most countries in Europe but UK use the liter/100km method. Only UK I think uses the imperial gallon.
        Now, as for the mechanics, you are right on the money. We don’t have too many that know how to fix modern diesels. It will take a while before they learn. A two week trip to the factory will not make them proficient. Unfortunately for consumers, there will be a lot of trial and error tests done on their cars..

  • avatar

    I still think it is worth pointing out that there are comparatively few diesel cars available for sale, right now, in the U.S., especially compared to hybrids.

    More diesel options = more diesel sales.

    • 0 avatar

      Indeed. I certainly would have bought my car with a diesel if BMW offered it that way. Which means I would have bought the mythical diesel, rwd, manual transmission, station wagon. God’s own perfect vehicle.

      And it is not all bought the economy aspects. Modern diesels are satisfying to drive in the same way the old big-block V8s were – effortless torque at low rpm. The fuel economy is just a bonus, IMHO.

  • avatar

    i suppose the consumers find incentives after paying more for the diesels.

    the recent news about dsl, in alberta there was a fire which burnt down the refinery, so most norther bc’s town had a dsl ration of 300 litre per day.
    most logging trucks cannot run fulltime.
    not so sure if the logging industry is running full tilt yet, since there was the us house/economy slump and the pine beetles chewed up lots of pine trees.

  • avatar

    Don’t forget California or CARB is systematically pulling older diesel trucks off the road starting January 1st of this year. Fleet owners have been busy replacing their ’96 thru ’99 medium and heavy duties with new compliant rigs ’10 or newer.

  • avatar

    There there is the small matter of the tsunami that wiped out around 5 months of hybrid production from the biggest supplier of hybrids to the US.

  • avatar

    I was a young kid growing up on a farm in rural Wisconsin. In the summer my parents would drive me to town where I would board a Greyhound bus for the long ride to Milwaukee. Getting off of the bus in the depot the air was always heavy with the smell of the exhaust from the buses. My Grampa was always there waiting for me. God, I love the smell of diesel exhaust!

  • avatar

    In the 80’s I had a Mercedes 300SD which I bought new. I drove it 140,000 miles without
    any engine work EXCEPT for the two new vacuum pumps (every 50K miles or so) which were
    needed for running the HVAC, door locks, brake master cylinder. This negated the lack of
    repairs to the internal parts. Also then diesel was cheaper than gas. Now at my local stations it’s $.80 a gallon
    more than regular gas. The total lack of acceleration was what finally got me to trade the car.
    The new diesel cars may run better, but the fuel still leaves a stink on your hands and the fuel
    is harder to find than in the 80’s.
    No more diesels for me, thank you!

  • avatar

    The diesel life cycle cost advantage in light duty vehicles has been significantly reduced (or eliminated) due to:

    Smaller fuel economy advantage over gassers due to stringent USEPA regs on diesels.

    Initial cost penalty significantly increased due to above.

    Diesel fuel prices trending and holding above gasoline – currently about +15%.

    Finally(this is tbd but a personal prediction) high repair costs as 2010 USEPA compliant diesel vehicles age due to complex and proprietary emissions packages.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Long as we’re enumerating…

    Diesel’s best year in the US was 1981, at 6.1% of new car (not including trucks) sales, about 520,000 cars. Diesel sales went from <1% in 1977 to that peak, then back to <1% for 1985.

  • avatar

    I have fond memories of diesel cars, my Dad had a Tempo and Escort diesel and I had a Topaz diesel. They got great mpg and never had a problem with them, although they were sold before they had a 100k on them. I will take a hard look at the new Cruze when its diesel is out.

  • avatar

    I don’t quite understand the American gas engine fetish, neither the diesel hate, guess it have something to do with gas being extremely cheap (for European standards) and long old but not forgotten bad experience with diesel engines.

    Anyway, here my 2 cents.

    Me and my closer relatives have driven diesels for now almost 10 years:
    None of them stinks or is too loud, except the PASSAT had this typical knocking in low revs.

    Citroen Berlingo 2.0 HDI, currently 230 tKm, no issues. I think at about 120 tKm one heating candle or sort of was changed by regular inspection, cheap.
    VW Passat 1.9 TDI, sold at 180 tKm, no issues.
    Peugeot 207 SW, 1.6 HDI , (Girlfriend) currently 80 tKm , no issues.
    FORD S-Max 2.0 TDCI , currently at 160 tKm, zero problems (2 light bulbs on the backlight only, 30 cents each)
    My company owns several diesel Ford Focus, with 1.6 and 1.8 TDCI engines, ZERO problems.

    I am currently switching to gas, A5 Sportback 2.0 TFSI, just out of curiosity, really.

    And make no mistake, modern diesel engine have the overhand in pretty much every aspect when tested against gas engine, power, torque, mpg, even expected life.

    On the other hand, governments knew this is coming, actually the “move to diesel” trend started 15 years ago when the diesel price was 2 x cheaper compared to benzin. With taxes, and other tricks, currently diesel fuel in Europe passed the price of gas.

    • 0 avatar

      The reason for the “American gas engine fetish” is frankly that unlike in Europe, Diesel fuel isn’t getting preferential treatment in taxation compared to gasoline.
      As an example the current tax rates for gasoline and diesel in Germany are:
      gasoline: 65,45 ct/l (ca. 7,3 ct/kWh)
      Diesel: 47,04 ct/l (etwa 4,7 ct/kWh)
      The EU has proposed that the tax rates per kWh should be on the same level but this is widely opposed.
      Arguably, this preferential treatment of diesel drove the European manufacturers away from developping hybrid leading to them now lagging behind in developping electric vehicles.

      • 0 avatar

        For some time now, the diesel price is equal or higher pretty much everywhere in Europe. The MPG advantage however make it up if you drive a lot to compensate the higher vehicle purchase price.

        Regarding the reasons why European automotive lag behind in developping EV…. I think there are few other energy sources that might be worked on in the dark.

        I also believe it is dangerous to say EU brands slept over (or understimate ) this trend, more like they have something else in mind and/or they decided EV have no longterm feature the way it is developped today, I tend to this idea too. Though I might be biased a bit as I made my money in automotive that will likely loose $$$ from the electric trend, e.g. electric steering instead of hydraulic.

        For the time being, electro trend ideas had been pain in the bottom as EVERY automaker confirmed how hard, labour intensive, unreliable and complicated is to integrate electrical devices to do something that has been done through hydraulic or vacuum power till now for decaded, eventhough with the time this will become cosiderably easier. But then again, what about the copper price, extra weight, service possibilities etc…

  • avatar

    If you want to applaude the number crunching, you might want to recheck it first. Because those numbers don’t match up.

    First of all – the EPA numbers are for model years, not for calendar years. (Since the Passat only arrived as a 2012MY this means its not part of this analysis at all)…

    Regarding Diesels:

    In 2010, 78.000 Diesel cars were sold by the german manufacturers alone ( ) in a market of 11.6 million light vehicles – making for at least 0.65% diesel share without taking into accounts Diesel of any other manufacturer.

    If those numbers grew 27%, there were 100k Diesel cars sold, in a light vehicle market of 12.8 million cars – making for 0.8% market share.

    However, the EPA Report from which those numbers come only calculates with a total number of 9.2 million light vehicles (I have no idea where that number comes from) – so the Diesel market share in the EPA reports should be even higher.

    Regarding Hybrid:
    According to in 2011 there were 268,807 hybrids sold in the US. In a light vehicle market of 12.8 million, this is a 2.1% market share, not a 4.x share. Even with the EPA’s lower overall numbers, those don’t add up. And the hybrid sales were not that much higher (relatively) in the 2010 MY either…

    So – I personally don’t know how the EPA numbers are calculated. But they don’t seem to realistically show the market share of Diesel or Hybrids. So, you might want to add to your article… ;)

  • avatar

    Given how few mass-market diesel options there are in the US today, the diesel passenger car sales have a high degree of correlation with VW sales. More VW sales more diesel sales …

  • avatar

    You have raised some valid points and it is good to see who is behind the diesel push in the US. However, I would like to see the same information about hybrids. Who is really pushing the hybrid hype into the market? Wait! I know it’s Uncle Sam! If we are truely a free market society, then the government should get out of the marketing of hybrids through incentives to the manufacturers.

    I currently own two clean diesels and will not buy another gas car, as long as diesels are available. The talk about fuel pricing is misleading if you also do not talk about fuel efficiency. Prices this morning were $3.33 for regular and $3.85 for diesel, which is a 52 cent or 16% spread. For the same car with a gas engine versus a diesel engine, I get 30% better mileage around town. So my cost per mile with diesel is 11 cents versus 13 cents for regular. Diesel is available at most of the filling stations I go buy every day.

    My suggestion, before you bash diesels, go drive a new one and then go drive a new hybrid. Determine for your self which is the better driving experience and see how clean and quite these new diesels run.

    • 0 avatar

      OK, you’re saving $240 per year driving a diesel (on 12K miles) but how much extra did you pay upfront? Extra DMV registration? Maintenance? PM filters? Emissions testing (you will eventually)? Then factor in their complexity and reliability issues. I’ve been primarily driving diesel cars and pickups for the last 27 years and I’m done, fed up, had it!
      Just having to spend an extra few minutes getting to a station that sells diesel only to sit and wait for one of the 2 or 4 gas/diesel pumps to get free while they buy ‘scatchers’ and cigs… I’ll gladly fork over the $240 just to fill up at any pump, anywhere.

      • 0 avatar

        It could be that you were driving the wrong kind of diesel vehicles Denver Mike.There’s a lot of truth in what NCSkibum is saying. In Florida where I am from most gas stations have diesel fuel. It’s not like back in the 80s or early 90s, you know? Not all diesels are that unreliable. Some of the TDIs biggest issues are from failures to the fuel pumps do the the lack of lubricity in our crappy fuel. That’s not the fault of the manufacturer, not really. It’s the fault of our government. Of course it sucks to be stuck with a 7-8000 dollar repair, but most people have learned to add either bio diesel to the fuel, or additives and the situation has been addressed…I think.
        I only drove diesel cars occasionaly and I never owned one, but my next car will be a diesel. For me, it will be the perfect fit. I drive to work 20 miles each way, I live in a warm climate so the engine has plenty of time to warm up ( no condensation problems)and most gas stations offer diesel fuel. I am willing to pay as much as 2,000 USD over the same vehicle with gas engine. I just hope that other manufacturers come with the diesel option since I am not all that hot on VW.

        Now, most diesel offerings come in the higher trim levels therefore the extra cost is not just for the engine alone.

      • 0 avatar


        It’s still not worth it economically, not by a longshot. Saving less than a dollar a day (again on 12K mi) just to spending an extra 2 or 3 per day (all told) just for the sake of the extra hassle makes no sense what so ever.

        It may take decades for diesels to match the reliability of gassers as well as the learning curve for indie mechanics but modern diesels rely on extremely high pressure everything for acceptable HP and emissions… not to mention turbo boost. Diesels may never reach the reliability and ‘overall’ savings of gassers for these simple facts.

      • 0 avatar

        I would agree with you about the “indie” mechanics situation. But I would have to respectfully disagree about the reliability as compared to gas engines. If the gassers were so much more reliable than diesel that means that all those Europeans ( 60% of them) are a bunch of idiots or masochists for buying diesel cars.

      • 0 avatar


        Thanks to emissions, Euro diesels lose much of their fuel economy and reliability by the time they’re 50 states certified. Then we pay lots more for diesel fuel vs gas. Add to that, most cars in Europe are leased so owners just let the dealer worry about repairs and take public transportation which barely exists in the US. It’s also more common for companies to give workers a company car. Not to mention Europeans live much closer to work and rarely put on the miles that we do. Plus their latitudes are way more forgiving on high pressure/high temp modern diesels.

    • 0 avatar

      DenverMike, diesels work for some people, not so much for others. If you don’t like them and the economics don’t work for you don’t buy one. For some people (people with long commutes, people that put on lots of miles, trucks that pull heavy loads) they are great.

      Diesel vs. gasoline power is like arguing Apple vs. Windows; for some people the premium is worth it, others not so much.

      • 0 avatar


        I’m not convinced people know what they’re getting into even if they currently own a diesel. No matter how they try to convince you otherwise, the numbers doen’t lie. The economics don’t have to make sense, I get that. That’s also true of most hybrids. If you’re pulling 30,000 lbs or more than sure but otherwise, no.

  • avatar

    Consumers are going to have to become smarter when determining what engine works best for the way they used their vehicle. Until now the only decision a buyer had to make was the size/horsepower of the gasoline fueled engine.

    Standard gasoline engines are inexpensive, fairly efficient, and there is not learning curve to using them. However, they can be thirsty when pulling weight or in stop and go traffic, and are less efficient than diesels on the highway.

    Today hybrids are great for commuters and mixed use driving since they are the most efficient for stop and go traffic situations and offer very good highway mileage but have a substantial cost premium vs. a similar car without the hybrid powertrain.

    Electric only vehicles are great for short range driving, but not suitable for longer range operations. This makes them a good second car or commuter vehicle.

    Diesels offer fantastic highway mileage, long range between fill ups, and great torque for pulling. This makes them great for salespeople, people with long highway commutes, heavier vehicles like pickups and SUV’s, and people who pull trailers. However diesels are not designed/optimized for short commutes or low mileage usage and cost more to purchase than gasoline engines (although the cost tends to be neutralized by higher resale values).

    In short, today consumers need to THINK before picking the right engine for their vehicle if they want to get the best powertrain for the way they use their car. There is no one right answer anymore, and having more options to choose from is definitely progress.

  • avatar

    So, malevolent Big Diesel is trying to gain a foothold in America?

    I’m totally okay with that.

  • avatar

    Some people on here proudly admit to the Panther cult. I proudly admit to being a member of the VW IDI/TDI cult. I’ve owned 5 diesel VWs since 1998 – an ’85 Jetta diesel, 89 Jetta TD, 2000 Jetta TDI, 2003 Jetta TDI and a 2002 Golf TDI. I no longer drive a lot of miles like I did a few years ago, but I still love my TDIs. One of the biggest things for me is that the smell of gasoline at the fuel pumps makes me sick. Diesel smells, but it’s a lot less intense than gas and seems to take less time to go away if you get some on your skin.

    Aside from the stench of gas (and the horrible fuel economy in a gas powered car), I love diesels because of the low-end torque and how fun they are to drive. Plus I enjoy listening to diesel clatter and don’t understand why people would want to feel like they’re sitting on a couch inside an anechoic chamber on wheels when they’re driving their cushy SUVs.

    And with the help of a resource like TDIclub, I never have to get bent over at a dealer for repairs.

    I am interested to see what will happen with the diesel Cruze and the Sky-D vehicles and how well they will be received by people that haven’t experienced modern diesels.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m quite interested to see the price premium for the Sky-D since it doesn’t use the complex emissions equipment of other diesels. I’ve even heard that the 2.2L Sky-D will share parts with the 2.0L Sky-G and be manufactured on the same assembly line.

      It’s too bad that they’ve only been talking about putting it in the CX-5 or Mazda6. I’d love to see what 310 ft-lb could do in a Mazda3.

  • avatar

    Regarding the Diesel reliability issue:

    Almost every second car sold in Germany, for example, was Diesel-powered. Among cabs, I’d estimate the rate of Diesel cars is about 80-90%. (Their love with the Diesel started 1935 with the Mercedes 260 D.) All weird Masochists? Call me unconvinced.

    Do car makers sell different cars in the US than in Europe?

    (BTW: I’m no Diesel aficionado, never had one, just wonder.)

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