Diesel Economics 201: Q3 Sales Accelerate to 33%

By Jonathan Spira on 21 October 2010
  • Share

Is 2010 the year of the diesel?  A new analysis by The Diesel Driver shows an increasingly strong  preference for diesel-powered cars compared to the petrol-powered equivalent models

The Diesel Driver analyzed detailed new-car sales data from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, the four companies that currently offer diesel-powered passenger vehicles in the U.S. (a detailed spreadsheet of this data may be found at the end of this article).  The data cover the first nine months of 2010 and show that diesel sales have not only continued to slowly increase but, in the case of one auto maker, they have reached a point where more buyers chose a diesel than a petrol-powered equivalent model.  The trends for the three months ending September 30, 2010 are particularly worthy of note.

At Audi, 53% of buyers chose a diesel in Q3 over the petrol equivalent.  For the first six months, only 45% went diesel.

The percentage of buyers choosing a diesel over petrol at Volkswagen increased from 36% to 41%  and the Touareg joined the Jetta Sportwagen as a diesel model of preference with Q3 buyers choosing the Touareg TDI by a ratio of 3 to 1.

Given the relative lack of hype around diesel-powered automobiles (compared to hybrids), and the fact that the diesel market was virtually undetectable in the U.S. just a few years ago, the fact that 33% of car buyers in the third quarter chose a diesel over the comparable petrol-powered model is indeed noteworthy.

Total diesel sales for the first nine months of 2010 were 55,353 (the figure for petrol-powered cars was 115,041).  This represents 33% of overall sales. Based on these numbers, diesel sales (when compared to comparable petrol models) will unquestionably comprise one-third of (comparable model) sales for calendar year 2010.

For the first nine months of 2010, only two diesel models consistently outsold their petrol variants, namely the Audi A3 TDI and the Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen TDI.   Meanwhile, the BMW 335d and the Volkswagen Touareg are next in line for membership in this exclusive club.

Click here to continue to page 2

Pages: 1 2