BMW pulls the plug on diesels in US in favor of plug-in hybrids

September 11, 2018

UPDATE: BMW has clarified its statement to The Car Connection in an email. "The final decision as to whether or not the BMW X5 diesel variant will come to the U.S. market has not been made. BMW of North America continues to monitor customer preferences and is prepared to adjust the product portfolio accordingly."


BMW will stop selling diesel-fueled vehicles in the U.S. after the 2018 model year, a spokesman for the automaker said Tuesday. Instead, the automaker will focus on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV).

"We are putting all our eggs in the PHEV basket," BMW spokesman Alex Schmuck told The Car Connection at a press preview for the company's redesigned 2019 X5 crossover SUV in Atlanta. 

MORE: Mazda jumps into diesel game with its CX-5 crossover

Schmuck confirmed that the South Carolina-built 2019 X5 will not be available with a diesel engine for the U.S. A plug-in hybrid version capable of about 40 miles of electric range on a full charge will arrive in about 18 months for the 2021 model year.

BMW's up-and-down history with diesel in the U.S. dates back about 30 year to its short-lived 524td sedan in the mid-1980s. The automaker also supplied the 524td's engine to Ford Motor Company, which used it in some Lincoln models. 

BMW revived its diesel efforts about a decade ago with a 3.0-liter inline-6 in its 335d sedan and X5 crossover SUV and then introduced a 4-cylinder turbodiesel in its 3-Series sedan and wagon and its X3 crossover SUV. Increasingly stringent emissions standards in the U.S. and additional government oversight after Volkswagen admitted to systematically cheating on the EPA's test has soured demand for diesel-fueled passenger cars.

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