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Clean diesel cars outpacing the market

It is well known that the current price of fuel, despite the dramatic drop yesterday, has been driving a move to more fuel-efficient vehicles nationwide. What is not so apparent is that sales of clean diesel vehicles are outpacing sales of hybrids by a full 17.1 percent. Further the total cost of ownership is lower for a clean diesel car.
Posted: May 6, 2011 - 2:04PM
Author: Don Bain

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Sales statistics compiled by the website, which works with the market research firm Baum & Associates, showed in the first four months of 2011, clean diesel sales had increased 42.7 percent compared to 2010. During the same period, hybrid sales increased by 25.6 percent, while the overall market increased by 19.4 percent.

Bosch Diesel Systems (BDS) is one of the world's largest suppliers to diesel vehicle manufacturers and were at the ACT Expo in Long Beach, Calif. this week. The firm showcased the technology now in most new clean diesel vehicles and demonstrated the importance of overall cost of ownership in the face of high fuel prices.

"We believe consumers clearly see the value of clean diesel cars and trucks," said Alex Freitag, director, Diesel Systems Engineering, Diesel Systems, Robert Bosch LLC. "Even when diesel prices are higher than gasoline, consumers understand that diesels offer more miles per dollar of fuel spent."

In addition to the distance versus dollars advantage of clean diesels, a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University reported the total cost of ownership for clean diesels enhanced their value.

"It's been generally known that diesel vehicles typically post lower operating costs because of their increased fuel economy," said Lester Lave, university professor and Higgins Professor of Economics at CMU's Tepper School of Business. "But, that's only one element of the equation. Our study considered a vehicle's initial price and resale value along with other operating and maintenance costs."

The study, titled Comparing Resale Prices and Total Cost of Ownership for Gasoline, Hybrid and Diesel Passenger Cars and Trucks, also found the price differential between a clean diesel passenger car and a traditional PFI (port-fuel-injected) gasoline-powered vehicle could be recouped in less than 18 months. In addition, clean diesels deliver an average of 30 percent better fuel economy than gasoline engines. This means long term savings to the owner.

Clean diesel vehicles are readily available in the market. Today, Audi offers the A3 TDI and Q7 TDI; BMW sells the 335d and X5 xDrive x35d,; Mercedes-Benz markets the GL350 BlueTEC, ML350 BlueTEC, R350 BlueTEC and E350 BlueTEC while Volkswagen produces the Golf TDI, Jetta TDI, Jetta Sportwagen TDI and the Touareg TDI. For each of these, a gasoline model is an alternative choice and in some cases a hybrid version. According to Polk registration analysis conducted by Bosch, the diesel model is chosen up to 80 percent of the time.

Mazda has also announced they be bringing clean diesel models to the American market soon. For heavy-duty pickups diesel models dominate the marketplace and have done so for over 10 years. Even at premium prices, they provide superior torque and towing ability along with better fuel economy than their gasoline alternatives.

In the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the Bosch Group manufactures and markets automotive production equipment and aftermarket products, industrial drives and control technology, power tools, security and communication systems, packaging technology, thermotechnology, household appliances, solar energy, healthcare telemedicine and software innovations. Having established a regional presence in 1906, Bosch employs over 22,000 associates in more than 100 locations, with reported sales of $8.8 billion in fiscal 2010.

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