Rebounding from last year’s dieselgate emissions controversy with Volkswagen, the U.S. diesel car market is regaining momentum.
Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, reported that diesel sales started 2016 at their lowest point-”0.43 percent of all vehicle sales in January-”and some analysts issued dire projections about diesel’s future.
“However, by the end of 2016, the diesel ‘take rate’ almost doubled to 0.81 percent in December,” he reported. “Cumulatively, 115,337 diesels were sold in the U.S. in 2016, and this does not include many of the domestic heavy-duty diesel pickup truck sales where diesel has over 10-percent of the market share.”
This means that, despite the loss of 13 VW Group of America vehicles from the U.S. market and the added setback of delays in government product certifications for other manufacturers, 2016 diesel sales regained about 20 percent of VW’s previous diesel market share.
“With tighter fuel efficiency standards coming into play in the U.S., along with growing demand for greener choices, we have no doubt that the new and established diesels will play a major role in the expanding growth of clean diesel technology in the domestic market,” Schaeffer predicted. “The new generation of clean diesel passenger vehicles with proven real-world fuel efficiency offers about 30-percent better fuel efficiency than comparable gasoline vehicles. These vehicles are clean with low CO2 emissions, they provide great performance, and they are renewable fuel-ready. Because of all this, we are extremely optimistic about the future of diesel passenger vehicles in the U.S.”
In 2017, the market can anticipate new product launches including Chevrolet’s Cruze clean turbo diesel, Cruze hatchback clean turbo diesel and Equinox clean turbo diesel, as well as the Mazda SKYACTIV-D CX-5 diesel SUV.