Volkswagen's Diesel Darling
Despite the gloomy economic outlook in the NA car market, VW is surprisingly chipper. VeeDub’s convinced that the demand for the diesel Jetta may be higher than the forecast. “It certainly met and probably exceeded our expectations,” claims Mark Barnes, CEO of VW NA. August sales of totalled 2,417 units, 11,217 year-to-date. One reason for the cha-ching: the diesel Jetta qualifies for a $1300 federal tax credit. That put its “diesel premium” at just $770 over its gas-powered sib. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn sees the Jetta’s success as the particulate end of a NA wedge. Marty predicts a U.S. “diesel trend” based on the current oil burner’s robust powertrain and high resale values. Mike Omotoso is equally bullish. “We expect the diesel market to grow and actually overtake the hybrid market over the next seven years,” J.D. Power’s “engine analyst” remarked. Never mind the forthcoming release of the Chevrolet plug-in electric – gas hybrid Volt, the Mississippi-built Prius and the increasing popularity of frugal fours. In other words, in your dreams boys.
The important thing is that both the Prius and the TDI are cleaner than most everything else on the road around us. I salute your choice. Why can't you respect mine? Not everyone wants to own a Prius. Not everyone wants to drive a Prius. You may enjoy your visibility as a green car owner or whatever, but I can't tolerate the lousy visibility from within a Prius. It's too low, both in roofline and ground clearance (Recently I saw a heavily loaded, low-riding Prius coming back to town from a camping trip. I spotted obvious damage to the undercarriage, which was riding about two inches off the pavement.) And a hybrid wouldn't suit my usual driving duty of long distances, mountain roads and minimal time in stop-and-go traffic. I'm not anti-hybrid. I'm glad they're available and successful in the market. But I resist the pressure to conform to one solution, for all drivers and all roads. So what if a bicycle is even cleaner? You needed a clean, reliable car, so you got one. I wanted a cheap, fun-to-drive vehicle that behaves more like a conventional car-- with a manual transmission, please -- so I made a different choice. Let it be...
I care about air quality first and foremost. I walk to work and I can smell even recent vintage (