WASHINGTON – U.S. car buyers are expressing growing interest in diesel engines, aexecutive says.
Lars Ulrich, director-diesel systems marketing, tells WardsAuto in an interview at the auto show here thatpredicts diesel engines will capture 10% of U.S. light-vehicle market by 2015.
That's more bullish than a forecast by Baum and Associates that predicts diesel’s market share will reach only 6.5% by 2015. J.D. Power & Associates forecasts diesel penetration will grow to 7.4% by 2017.
Ulrich says only 110,000 diesel-powered light vehicles were sold last year in the U.S. But Bosch research indicates about 33% of U.S. car buyers now are interested in diesel technology. And he would not be surprised if oil-burners’ share eventually topped 10%.
This movement is being driven not only by consumer interest but also by government corporate average fuel economy requirements, he says.
Auto makers will field 50 clean-diesel models in the U.S. market by 2014, and the number of companies now offering diesels will double by 2016.
says a new Jeep Grand Cherokee will offer a diesel option next year or in 2014. ’ new Cadillac ATS will offer a diesel when it debuts this summer that will be available on the Chevrolet Cruze next year. will become the first Asian auto maker to offer diesels in the U.S. with the introduction of its Skyactiv-D 2.2L clean-diesel engine.
German auto makers, which have championed oil-burners in the U.S., also will increase their offerings. The Porsche Cayenne will offer a diesel option later this year, followed in 2013 by the TDI-powered Audi A8. Diesel mills are available in Mercedes’ flagship S-Class sedan after a 17-year hiatus.
Diesels are perfectly suited for the majority of driving in the U.S., says Jeff Breneman, executive director-U.S. Coalition for Advanced Diesel Cars. He notes that 57% of miles traveled by U.S. drivers are at speeds of 47 mph (76 km/h) or higher.
Ulrich says there will be sufficient diesel-fuel availability in the U.S. to sustain growth of the oil- burning engines.
“While most auto makers have clean-diesel autos on the market in Europe, Asia and Australia, there are growing indications that even more diesels are on their way to the U.S. market,” says Allen Schaeffer, executive director-Diesel Technology Forum, an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology.