Aussie: Diesels Uber Alles?

Glenn Swanson
by Glenn Swanson
aussie diesels uber alles

There may be trouble ahead for Australian car makers who don’t offer diesel-powered large cars. According to GoAuto, a Roy Morgan Research survey indicates that some 38.2 percent of current large car owners say they’ll “seriously consider” a diesel model for their next car. If all 38.2 percent of these large car owners purchase oil burners, GoAuto figures “Ford, Holden, Toyota and Mitsubishi could stand to lose more than 100,000 sales combined a year.” GM’s Holden division begs to differ. After pointing out how a diesel-powered car typically commands a price premium in excess of $1K, mouthpiece John Lindsay goes for the financial jugular. “They are interesting statistics, but I think there is a follow-up question that needs to be asked – how much are they prepared to pay for it?” With unleaded gas in Melbourne averaging AU$1.27 per liter, some Australians might consider Lindsay’s comments to be a bit shonky.

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  • TaxedAndConfused TaxedAndConfused on Sep 08, 2007
    Australians might consider Lindsay’s comments to be a bit shonky. Yep, especially as Diesels also retain their value more than petrol cars, well in Europe anyway.
  • Jthorner Jthorner on Sep 08, 2007

    Here in the US Honda offers a Civic factory equipped to run on natural gas. From the Honda Australia website it doesn't look like they offer it there. This seems strange if conversions are popular in Australia. Here in the US some government fleets are partially powered by natural gas, but very few individuals do conversions.

  • Michal Michal on Sep 08, 2007

    The problem with Diesel in Australia is that it's usually quite expensive compared to petrol. We have a weekly discounting cycle with Thursdays being the most expensive and Tuesdays the cheapest. The price difference can be up to 10%. Diesel does not participate in the cycle at all. This week on Thursday the price here in Adelaide was $1.29 for petrol and the same for Diesel. But today petrol has followed the cycle and is down to $1.20 while Diesel is stuck at $1.29. Diesel is 30% more efficient but very regularly petrol can be purchased 10% cheaper. Add to that the huge price premiums charged for Diesel cars here and it doesn't make sense to go Diesel in Australia. A petrol Ford Focus is around AUD$22k, or AUD$28k for the same specification with Diesel. Astra is AUD$25k, or AUD$30k for Diesel. The local car brands are selling Diesel cars as a 'premium luxury' choice in Australia, which Europeans would find ludicrous. LPG is the better choice due to the government's generous tax subsidy (although a tax of 12.5c/L is being phased in over the next few years). Although more LPG is required to go the same distance, the price difference more than makes up for it. A Ford Falcon (large V6 sedan) consumes around 15L of LPG, or 11L of petrol per 100km.

  • Glenn126 Glenn126 on Sep 09, 2007

    I believe I've read that Hyundai offer factory built Propane fuelled cars including their Trajet minivan (smaller than the US market "Kia" based "minivan" - and what exactly is "mini" about a van weighing in at almost two tons?!) Think the Sonata can be factory built with Propane fuel only, as well. Hyundai India could supply propane fuelled cars to Australia, and with fuel 1/3 the price of diesel and petrol, even with a 10-15% reduction in efficiency (perhaps only 5-10% in a dedicated Propane fuelled car?) Hyundai could make a lot of conquest sales. Especially since the new Sonata is virtually as large inside as the way less efficient Ford Falcon, equivalent Holden and big Mitsubishi. Hyundai is a bit of a sleeper. Diesels (including a 2.2 150horsepower turbo-intercooled unit), propane, soon electric hybrids (using a Honda lower tech style rather than Toyota style), and fuel cell development. Detroit Inc execs should be in a cold sweat every time "Hyundai" is mentioned, in my humble opionion.