Report: VW Scandal Could Have Permanent Impact on U.S. Diesel Sales
Continental CEO Says Diesel Passenger Cars Could “Disappear” in U.S.
Since the story broke of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating scandal and the global fallout including investigations, recalls, hearings and more, it’s become clear that the damage is not confined solely to VW and its products. Until the scandal, diesel passenger cars had a hopeful future in the U.S., with several companies planning on future diesel models. However, Elmar Degenhart, CEO of Continental A.G., one of the automotive industry’s largest component suppliers, said he believes any chance that diesel passenger cars had in the U.S., Japan, or China is essentially dead in the wake of the scandal. “The diesel passenger car could sooner or later disappear from these markets,” Degenhart said to Reuters.
Diesel remains the most popular powerplant option for HD pickups, for its combination of fuel efficiency and low-end torque for towing heavy loads. Diesel accounts for 70-80 percent of HD truck sales in North America. Light-duty diesel pickups are also starting to come onto the market, starting with the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and now the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon with the optional 2.8L I-4 Duramax diesel.
At least publicly, two companies are still committed to passenger car diesels in the U.S.: General Motors and Mazda. GM will introduce the redesigned 2017 Cruze Diesel next fall, with the company’s new 1.6L “Flustern” or whisper diesel, noted for its exceptionally quiet operation. Mazda, originally planning on bringing its 2.2L Skyactiv-D diesel to the U.S. in 2014, has indefinitely postponed the introduction of the engine to the U.S. market.