The Future of Diesel in the United States: Has Volkswagen Finally Done What GM Couldn’t?

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Volkswagen Beetle, also available as a diesel

The cars that became available were more fuel efficient and were reportedly cleaner than before. They were more powerful too, a typical 1988 diesel sedan took 18 seconds to get from a standstill to 60 mph (96 km/h), while its counterpart 20 years later took roughly six to eight seconds to achieve the same.

A look at the market in 2010 is telling, with 11 models available. Audi offered the A3 TDI 2.0 and the Q7 TDI; BMW had the 335d and the X5 xDrive35d; Volkswagen had four models, the Golf TDI, Jetta TDI, Jetta SportWagen TDI, and Touareg TDI; and Mercedes offered the ML350 BlueTec, the GL350 BlueTec, and the R350 BlueTec.


Fast forward again, this time to January 2015, where another automaker has seemingly managed to finish the job that GM started in the 1980s.

For 2015, the number of diesel models available at the start of the year almost doubled from 11 in 2010 to 21.

Audi offered five models, the A3 TDI, the A6 TDI, the A7 TDI, the A8 L TDI, the Q5 TDI and the Q7 TDI, until the A3 was pulled from the market when the Dieselgate story broke. BMW currently offers four, the 328d Sedan, the 328d Sports Wagon, the 535d, the 740LD, the X3 xDrive28d, and the X5 xDrive35d.

General Motors, through its Chevrolet division, offers the Cruze Diesel, which won The Diesel Driver’s Diesel Car of the Year award in 2015. Fiat Chrysler has the Jeep Grand Cherokee ECODiesel.

Mercedes, which continued to offer a diesel or two in the United States even in diesel’s darkest days, now has four: the E250 BlueTec, GLK250 BlueTec, the GL350 BlueTec, and the ML350 BlueTec.

At the start of the 2015 model year, Volkswagen, the market volume leader in diesels in the United States until the scandal broke, offered six, the Beetle TDI, the Beetle Convertible TDI, the Jetta Sedan TDI, the Passat TDI, and the Touareg TDI. All but the six-cylinder Touareg TDI have been pulled from the market in the wake of the scandal.

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