SALT LAKE CITY — Volkswagen of America Inc. foresees dealers playing a critical role in prodding the U.S. government to develop regulations promoting diesel technology.

VW is asking dealers to put pressure on the U.S. government for diesel acceptance. The auto maker plans to offer diesel engines across its U.S. product range later this year.

Frank Maguire, VWA's vice president-sales and marketing, is urging the National Automobile Dealers Assn. to use its lobbying power to influence the course of diesel technology in the U.S. marketplace.

“When that huge, strong, powerful economic group starts speaking to the government, they listen,” says Maguire, a former dealer.