German automakers dominate US clean diesel market

By German Association of the Automotive Industry | January 11, 2011

U.S. interest in light-duty clean diesel vehicles is growing. According to a speech given by Matthias Wissmann, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) at the North American International Auto Show Jan. 10, the U.S. automotive market for light-duty vehicles is continuing to grow despite the economic downturn.

“The year 2010 has shown that the U.S. remains an automotive country,” Wissmann said. “In the future its citizens will continue to want and use individual mobility. They need automobiles and do not want to do without them. In view of the renewed prices at the pumps for gasoline and diesel fuel, motorists are scrutinizing their fuel consumption more and more closely. In this area in particular the German vehicle-makers offer tailor-made models whose fuel efficiency is better than that of any of their competitors.” In fact, Wissmann said that German manufacturers increased their market share in the U.S. for the sixth continuous year.

German car makers are clearly making strides with the introduction of clean diesel technologies into the U.S. market. According to Wissmann, U.S. sales of environmentally friendly clean diesel passenger cars rose by one-third last year.

“In the case of diesel passenger cars, the German manufacturers maintain a dominant position, with 100 percent market coverage,” Wissmann continued. “However, it is even more important that U.S. sales of German clean diesel cars climbed by one-third to 55,650 last year. The German brands are continually expending the range of diesel passenger cars they have [to] offer. They not only have a strong hold on the luxury segment, but are also taking an increasing share of the compact and medium classes. This ‘model offensive’ will continue to exert its effects in the current year.”

According to Wissmann, German automakers are also increasing their presence in the U.S. market with light-duty diesel trucks. “Their share of the overall light diesel truck market has more than [tripled] within the short space of two years, and now amounts to 10 percent,” he continued. “This rise is partly the result of factors such as the clean diesel models Audi Q7, the BMW X5, the VW Touareg and the GL, ML and R-Classes from Mercedes-Benz.”

The clean diesel vehicle models offered by German automakers meet the most demanding exhaust standards in all 50 states, Wissmann said. “Last year the proportion of diesels among total sales of light vehicles rose slightly to 2.2 percent [compared to 2.0 percent in 2009],” he continued. “We assume that clean diesels will continue to enjoy considerable opportunities for growth on the US market. And the year 2010 has certainly shown one thing: the German vehicle-makers will have an exceptionally large share in this growth.”



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