With recent major announcements of new clean diesel engine options in the U.S. sedan, SUV and pickup truck markets, the Washington Auto Show will give policymakers and consumers an opportunity to see how diesel technology fits in the future plans of automakers and consumers.

“Last year was a record-setting year for light truck and SUV sales in the U.S., and the recent announcements by Ford of a diesel engine option in its 2018 F-150 and General Motors (GM) for a diesel engine option in the 2018 GMC Terrain demonstrates that clean diesel is still an important part of the current and future lineups for manufacturers in the U.S.,” said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.

“These announcements come on the heels of others, including Mazda’s CX-5 SKYACTIV-D diesel SUV and Chevrolet’s Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, Cruze Hatchback Clean Turbo Diesel and Equinox Clean Turbo Diesel.”

The Washington Auto Show, which will include more than 600 new models from more than 35 manufacturers, also features two diesels nominated as finalists for the Green Car Journal‘s “2017 Luxury Green Car of the Year”—the Jaguar XE 20d and Range Rover Td6. The winner will be announced on Thursday, January 26.


New Diesel Announcements Highlight Positive Future in U.S. Market
“At the outset of 2017, the viability of diesel as a future option for passenger cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. is no longer in question,” Schaeffer said. “Ford’s announcement of a new diesel in the F-150, the most popular selling vehicle in the U.S. for the past 40 years, speaks volumes about the future for diesel.

“Consumers today are increasingly looking for the right combination of long-term value, utility, fuel efficiency, range and performance in their next personal transportation choice, which is exactly why an increasing number are considering diesel options.

“Diesel fuel is widely accessible today and growing—now at over half of all service stations. With fuel efficiency advantages of 30% over gasoline, no compromises are required for finding a car, light truck or SUV that meets the needs of today’s auto buyer. And more consumers than ever are attracted to the diesel option because they can choose to use blends of high-quality renewable diesel and biodiesel fuels in their vehicles, further reducing their carbon footprint. In fact, last week GM announced that their full diesel lineup of 20 diesel models is approved for use with B20 biodiesel.”


New Diesel SUVs and Light Trucks Joining Hot U.S. Market
SUVs and light trucks largely carried the U.S. diesel market in 2016, in addition to smaller numbers of luxury cars and SUV diesel options. While the VW scandal and loss of 13 vehicle choices resulted in major decline in U.S. diesel vehicle sales in late 2015 and early 2016 cumulatively, 115,337 diesels were still sold in the U.S. in 2016, not including any of the domestic heavy-duty diesel pickup truck sales where diesel has over 10% of the U.S. market.

Even with fewer vehicle choices for the U.S. market, coupled with delays in government product certifications, 2016 diesel vehicle sales still have regained about 20% of the market share formerly held by VW. In addition, Schaeffer noted recent announcements by other automakers to expand diesel options for the U.S. diesel market include Ford, GMC, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Mercedes, Nissan and Ram.

Schaeffer said public opinion research indicates that Americans continue to keep an open mind about considering diesel options. The 2016 diesel sales trends validate those, and the several new diesel announcements reinforce leading manufacturer commitments to the diesel powertrain.