The Return of Diesel in America – By The Diesel Driver

Interesting | March 26th, 2010 by 5
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Our friends over at The Diesel Driver are diving deeper into the story about diesel engines in North America and of course, including BMW diesels …

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Our friends over at The Diesel Driver are diving deeper into the story about diesel engines in North America and of course, including BMW diesels as well. This article falls in line with the previous one published by BMW just days ago.

“From 1960 through 2002, over 20 car makers ranging from Audi to Volvo offered over 80 diesel-powered passenger cars in the U.S. Indeed, 1981 marked a watershed year for diesel car sales with 520,788 sold. 60% of those came from General Motors and included the company’s biggest sedans, the Cadillac Sedan de Ville and Fleetwood, the Buick Electra and LeSabre, and the Oldsmobile 98 and 88. The oil crises of the 1970s had scared new car buyers enough so that they would put up with the diesel’s noise, fumes, and somewhat iffy starting in cold weather.

Diesel cars at that time accounted for 85% of Peugeot’s U.S. sales, 78% of Mercedes-Benz’, 58% of Isuzu’s, and 50% of Volkswagen’s.

Many popular cars came in diesel versions as well. In 1984, this included the Ford Escort, Nissan Sentra, Pontiac Grand Prix, Toyota Camry and Tercel, and the Volvo 760.

But the GM diesel-powered cars, which comprised the majority of U.S. diesel sales, had significant reliability issues. Blocks cracked and crankshafts as well as the patience of the cars’ owners wore out. As a result, GM ended diesel production in 1985.

1985 was also the year that BMW offered its first diesel in the U.S. market, the 524td. Based on the E28 5er Series platform, which was introduced in 1981, the 524td featured an inline six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that produced 114 hp (85 kW). Ford purchased the 524td’s engine for use in the Lincoln Continental Mark VII for a brief period of time.”

Full article continued here

5 responses to “The Return of Diesel in America – By The Diesel Driver”

  1. bob says:

    In contrast to the E70 35d’s order book, NA has said little about the E90 35d’s. In ’09, they sold 1,670 of ’em. Hi? Lo? Inline?

  2. BMW is happy with the E90 335d sales from what I have seen.

    The Eco Credit has clearly had a positive impact (although the impact is far more evident with the X5 diesel). Since BMW no longer brakes out sales by individual model (although the exception has been for diesel sales within ranges), it’s hard to compare the total 335d sales against the entire 3er Series range. It would really have to be compared against the E90 335i (as opposed to all 335i models, for example) and we don’t have official numbers for those.

    I think that BMW NA took the right approach by bringing in a high-performance diesel 3er, giving the company to demonstrate diesel performance while at the same time offering the most fuel efficient car it has ever sold.

    • bob says:

      What have you seen that led you to believe NA is happy with E90 35d sales?

      Yes. Yes, we do have NA’s official numbers. In 2009, NA sold 6,232 E90 335i’s in the US.

      So, to reiterate, 1,670 E90 35d’s could be anything from NA’s POV. Hi, Lo, or whatever…I, personally, haven’t seen any public commentary on it.

  3. Bob, first I must have missed the model breakdown figures (thanks, Information Overload!).

    Regarding what I have “seen,” I have not seen anything relative to the sales as BMW has not put out a written statement on this. That doesn’t change what I said before, however, that BMW is happy with the way sales are going.

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