Hyundai/Kia Reconsidering US Diesel Market Stance

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

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.”

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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11 of 44 comments
  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Oct 14, 2014

    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.

  • Luke42 Luke42 on Oct 14, 2014

    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.

  • Jkk6 Jkk6 on Oct 14, 2014

    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.

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    • Wumpus Wumpus on Oct 15, 2014

      @VoGo 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.

  • Carrera Carrera on Oct 14, 2014

    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, 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.

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    • Carrera Carrera on Oct 15, 2014

      @Big Al from Oz 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.