Diesel Economics: U.S. Sales Double in 2010

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Overall, industry-wide diesel comparable model sales started off in January at 27% and ended at 31% in December.   The high point for the year was August, with 37%.   The average for 2010 was 32%.  Insofar as 2011 sales are concerned, we expect that the current Middle East political instability and its effect on oil prices will help spur greater sales of the energy efficient diesels.


At Audi, 48% of buyers chose a diesel in the fourth quarter as well as for the entire year.  Total diesel sales were 6941.

Audi started off 2010 with 51% of buyers choosing a diesel in January and ended the year with 46%.  August was the high point for Audi diesel sales with 63% choosing a diesel. These high figures do not, however, tell the entire story as Audi believes it would have sold more diesels had they been available. An Audi spokesman indicated that demand for diesels continued to exceed availability throughout the year and that “inventories were challenged.”


31% of BMW drivers chose a diesel in Q4 as well as throughout the year.  In January, 26% chose a diesel and 36% opted for diesel in April. Total diesel sales for BMW in 2010 were 11,727.

BMW gave the X5 xDrive35d its mid-life refresh (the company calls this an LCI or life cycle impulse) early in 2010.

In May of last year, BMW announced plans to add two additional diesel models within the coming 12 months.  Specific details were not disclosed.


Mercedes-Benz, added the E-Class BlueTec sedan in the fall. More recently, the company announced the S-Class BlueTec Sedan, which will have the distinction of being the only full-sized diesel-powered luxury sedan in the U.S.

11% of Mercedes buyers chose a diesel in January.  June was the highwater mark with 17%.  Fourth quarter sales were 16% and comparable model diesel sales for the year were 14%.  Total diesel sales for 2010 were 7440.


At Volkswagen, 25% of buyers went diesel in January.  With two completely redesigned diesels (the Jetta and Touareg) in the mix,  September comparable model diesel sales reached 53%.   Fourth quarter  diesel sales were 35%, December sales were 32%, and the company closed the books on 2010 with comparable model diesel sales of 37%. Total diesel sales for 2010 were 51,769.

In January 2011, the company announced plans for a Passat diesel sedan with availability later in the year.  Units sold in the fourth quarter were 13,966. Volkswagen sold 51,769 for the year.


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