If Peter Marks, Bosch’s chairman, president and CEO of North and South American operations, is correct, you’ll soon begin to see a lot more diesel vehicle options in the United States market.
While diesel vehicles currently account for just 3 percent of new vehicle sales, changing market conditions in the U.S. and Europe could see that number climb to 10 percent over the next four years. By then, Marks projects that clean-diesel passenger cars could see fuel efficiency as high as 54 mpg, at an added cost of between $1,200 and $2,800 compared to gasoline-fueled vehicles.
Marks expects that automakers will double the amount of diesel-equipped models offered in the United States from 20 today to 40 by 2015. Helping diesel’s growth in the U.S. are stricter EU regulations for diesel emissions that go into effect over the next few years. Today, the United States has the strictest emission standards for diesel passenger vehicles in the world, which makes it expensive for manufacturers to certify diesel engines for sale in the United States. As emission regulations in the U.S., and the EU become more similar, the cost of offering diesel options for U.S. customers will go down.
Today, only VW, BMW, Audi and Mercedes offer diesel passenger cars for sale in the United States. Audi has previously committed to add a diesel version of all cars sold in the United States by 2015, so there’s good reason to believe that Marks’ vision of the future is accurate. It's unlikely that small diesels will dominate the automotive landscape any time soon, but even a 10 percent share of sales is a step in the right direction.