Cracking the US automotive market with diesel powered cars has never been an easy task: but Audi is hoping its four new clean diesel models can buck the trend.
Earlier this year, the company introduced TDI clean diesel versions of the Audi A6, A7, A8 (pictured) and Q5 into the market, each with a second generation 3.0litre V6 TDI diesel engine: and now it has held a media conference in an attempt to drive home the advantages of this new technology.
According to Joe Jacuzzi, the chief communications officer of Audi America, rewarding efficiency is the goal with these new models. He believes diesel needs a "fair shot" stating that "not only is it more powerful and contains 30 per cent better efficiency than traditional gasoline. it requires little infrastructure change: you move from one pump to another."
Anna Schneider, the VP for industry and government relations for Volkswagen, highlights that TDI clean diesel models now represent 25 per cent of Volkswagen and Audi sales in the USA: this is without incentives, without tax breaks and in fact with diesel getting taxed twice or penalised twice at federal level. She believes that clean diesel models are able to achieve decent sales simply because they offer best-in-class fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions: something that should be recognised by the government.
As part of the presentation, UMTRI researcher Bruce Belzowski offered a summary of his analysis into the total cost of ownership of diesel models when compared to petrol powered vehicles. He found that drivers of diesel vehicles can save thousands compared to similar petrol cars. In the study they developed three- and five-year cost estimates of depreciation and fuel costs. They then combined these with estimates on maintenance, insurances, fees and taxes.
Audi is applying the 3.0litre TDI engine into its existing models that are already on sale in the region with the engine capable of 225hp and 550Nm. The second generation is expected to be around 55lbs lighter, delivering 240hp with 580Nm and offering lower fuel consumption, a start-stop system, and acoustic refinements.
It is believed that one reason diesels are not receiving a "fair shot" is because city economy figures are weighed at 55 per cent of combined figures compared to 45 per cent for highway figures: which favours hybrids. However, Anna Schneider argues that does not represent the average person's driving and that time and again people with clean diesel cars are experiencing higher fuel economy than the labels suggest.
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