By on October 14, 2014

Kia-Rio-Diesel

With their portfolio of hybrids and EVs in place in the United States, Hyundai/Kia are now reconsidering their stance on bringing diesel power over to the market.

According to Ward’s Auto, Hyundai/Kia America Technical Center powertrain director John Juriga says his employer sees “some value with diesels,” stating the South Korean duo had planned to bring them over as far back as 2009, only to back out due to then-upcoming regulations for cleaner diesels, the costs in creating them, and the higher price of diesel compared to gasoline. He says that while those issues “haven’t necessarily been eliminated, they’ve been understood better,” leading to a “more direct path” toward a U.S. diesel lineup.

Additionally, CAFE targets — especially the 2025 fleet target of 54.5 mpg — could necessitate Hyundai/Kia to add diesel to its green weapons arsenal. Juriga stated Hyundai may bring cylinder deactivation, PHEVs and EGR between 2016 and 2021, while nine- and 10-speed automatics could further its fuel efficiency game between 2021 and 2025.

That said, the duo’s diesel efforts would need to find the right fit in the U.S. in order to achieve success. Juriga explained that the Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made up just 3 percent of overall Cruze sales, and that the vehicle chosen by Hyundai/Kia would also have to go against Volkswagen strong diesel lineup. Though he didn’t offer what vehicle the duo had in mind, he believes the automakers’ customer base would be “more accepting of the technology and willing to pay a premium for the engine type in the correct product.”

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44 Comments on “Hyundai/Kia Reconsidering US Diesel Market Stance...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I could see it working. The Elantra lineup is pretty strong and a diesel couldn’t possibly make them any less boring

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    “What we really need in our lineup are cars that cost the owner more at the pump!”

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Holy cramped engine bay, Batman!

  • avatar
    VW16v

    R + D for a diesel may cost less then putting money into there hybrid systems.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Good point. And when their diesels flop in the US market they’ll have all that saved money to use for shipping them somewhere else.

      • 0 avatar
        VW16v

        I don’t know of any diesels flopping in the U.S. Audi and MB cannot keep them on the lot. Wifey and I wanted to test drive a GLK diesel and they are sold out until next year. We would have to order one.

    • 0 avatar
      STRATOS

      R + D costs would be minimal because they already sell a lot of diesel cars for the rest of the world.They would not need a N.A. specific engine.I believe the reason auto companies charge more for diesel cars is due to the fact that diesel engines are more robust, outlasting their gas gas versions with minimal maintenance.You would probably never have to see the dealer again.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        That has most definitely not been the case since the emissions game was upped 4~5 years ago. Diesels are largely more problematic than gassers these days. Dirty, low performance diesels of old were super robust. That is not the case anymore, though.

      • 0 avatar

        The “more robust” means higher production cost. And they do have a higher maintenance program than in the past, and are more prone to failure due to the emissions equipment.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Drove the father-in-law’s 1.5 Crdi Accent last year when I went to Europe. Of course, it didn’t have urea, but that little engine was giving me between 50-60 mpg (US, not imperial) with the AC on, while dodging donkeys and horses other large live stock on the roads. Brand new in 2008 it was 11,000 E…which translates to about $15K in USA I think. It was a 5 sp manual, with AC, CD player, power windows/doors, fog lights, ABS, and 2 airbags. No more, no less. Same body style as in USA.
    I am all for it. Diesel is starting to cost a bit more than gas in Europe as well, but since the cars get 25-35% better fuel consumption no one blinks an eye when it comes to making a choice between gas and diesel. The diesel cars cost more as well. Father-in-law paid 1000E more for the diesel, but he never regretted his decision. Car has about 40K miles on it now and still drives like new…just a new windshield and scratches from vandals but that’s normal over there.
    I am all for these cars coming here.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Hey, how about an Elantra wagon with a diesel and…

    …oh, never mind.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    I remember when we went into the dealership to buy my father-in-law’s Accent, all their cars were available with the diesel engine only. The Elantra was sold as I30 or 35 or something like that and looked nothing like the North American Elantra. It came with an 1.8 diesel I think. The Sonata ( old body style, not the current one) came with a 2.0 crdi and the SUV came with same engine I think or possibly a 2.4 crdi. I don’t remember really since it was 2008. I wanted to make some conversation and asked about gas engines and auto transmissions. Of course, the cars at the dealership were manual transmissions. If someone wanted a gas powered one, they were in for a looong wait. Oh, you want an automatic? Good luck with that…well first the salesman would ask you if you are handicapped…because mostly that would be the only reason why someone would want an automatic over there.

  • avatar
    darex

    They should make all of their hatches available as diesels: Accent/Rio, Elantra GT/Forte5, and maybe Tucson/Sportage. There’s a certain logic to it, in terms of who’s more likely to embrace diesel from amongst the whole of their customer base.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    I wanna see someone rolling coal in a Rio or Soul.

  • avatar
    AlfaRomasochist

    I still think turd (TRD) from Toyota is the worst automotive acronym out there, but cruddy (CRDi) has to be a close second.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Choice is always a good thing. If the market will bear it then it will thrive, if the market does not bear it then it will die out.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    Diesel powered Soul: take my money, please!

    With a small trailer hitch, this is the car I really wanted during my last two car purchases.

  • avatar
    jkk6

    If there is anyone familiar with oil companies please contribute since i don’t feel like doing 3 hours of non-paid research for a single post, but i though it was the big oil companies like Exxon, Mobile, BP, Indian/Arab/Sheikh Fuel Federation lobbying our government to ban these 60mpg engines into our access.

    Simply but Gas companies lobby govt -> Govt disencourages manufacturers -> Manufacturers denying consumer -> We keep a 98% gasoline run infrastructure -> Gas companies win.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      JKK,
      In a word….NO.

      While I am not terribly trustful of either the Federal gov’t or Big Oil, the fact is that the US government is encouraging fuel efficiency, through CAFE regulations as well as a tax on gasoline.

      If we could evolve our ICE fleet to 60MPG average, that would mean:
      – the US would stop importing oil, which would mean we would no longer need to go to war in the Middle East to guarantee its flow
      – we would actually be a net exporter of oil, which would repair our current account deficit
      – the American consumer would be the big winner, as they’d have another about two-thirds of the $60/week they spend on gas
      – we would reduce much of the greenhouse emissions which contribute to climate change

      This would be a huge win for America, and most of the world. No way the federal government would block it. No way they could stop it even if big oil lobbyists tried.

      • 0 avatar
        jkk6

        Explain to me why the US is the only country NOT TO USE DIESEL? Why CAFE has a hardon drafting a law for cleaner emmisions on maybe what 3 models that are currently offered in the States. I’ve also had the chance to short term a LPG vehical which is common in Asia, and can understand why that type of fuel isn’t common(crash safety, fuel storage, low energy content 3k rev limit no power, high pressure gas vs liquid) but diesel is as easily handled and accessible as gasoline.
        By the way Im not going to believe Uncle Sam and I started growing trees out of our rear ends either.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        Keep dreaming.

        The Clinton administration went through the motions of getting diesel fuel to sulfer levels that this type (modern/DFI/etc) could use. Only problem was they kept dragging their feet and dragging their feet until they had scheduled the big change to something like 2002. Come 2002 of course the Bush administration canceled it.

        Actually I think they eventually allowed low sulfer fuel in. Except there was no real enforcement on the fraud side (at least from what I heard from Houston owners) so you couldn’t expect a diesel engine to last during that time. So all through the SUV boom all those poseur-trucks were made with car engines instead of truck engines.

        The US public isn’t asking for diesel, and the oil companies are in no hurry to let them know about it.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    The Hyundai and Kia diesel would sell no problem. The diesel market is not very crowded. Yes I know all the Germans have diesel but when it comes to Mercedes, BMW, Audi…at what price? VW is really the only contender but there are people that would not touch VW with a ten foot pole, diesel or not. We really need a reliable, affordable diesel entrant. The market however is small once a good one comes it. if Toyota or Honda comes in, then it is game over for everyone else, including VW. No I don’t count Chevy Cruze because while a great engine and a sound design, they placed it in the wrong vehicle. Instead of placing that engine in the Malibu or even Impala they’ve placed it in the Cruze. Great engine, in the wrong vehicle. Sales are insignificant. Most people that have $25k to drop on a car, are looking for something a little more family oriented ( roomy). I am not a big guy, just 5’10’ but I can’t sit behind myself in Cruze…not comfortably? With the kids booster and baby seat…forget about it.

    • 0 avatar
      Johannes Dutch

      You’re forgetting FCA. Best small 4 cylinder car diesels (around 2.0 liter displacement or less) come from Fiat, PSA and Renault. The Mercedes A and B class are available with 1.5 liter Renault diesels, for example. On the other hand, the Infiniti Q50 and Q70 come with Mercedes diesels.

      Don’t count on Toyota. Own diesels out, BMW diesels in. In their C-segment cars, that is.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Carrera
      The new Hyundai and Kia diesel are all of German design. They are apparently quite good.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Oh, I know they are good Big Al. They are great, but Hyundai/Kia Company still has a little bit of a stigma to fight in USA as opposed to Honda and Toyota. No it isn’t like the early 90s, but all things being equal, the majority of US consumers would probably pick an Accord or Camry over a Sonata…all things being equal.

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