Two major announcements from leading global manufacturers for new diesel options in light-duty vehicles came from the North American International Auto Show as Ford introduced a new 3.0L diesel engine option in the 2018 Ford F-150 pickup truck, and GMC revealed a new 1.6L turbo-diesel engine option for its all-new 2018 GMC Terrain SUV.
“These announcements send a strong message that diesel remains an important option for meeting the future vehicle needs of U.S. drivers,” said Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “With light-duty pickup trucks and SUVs accounting for more than 63% of sales in 2016, the addition of new clean diesel options in these dominant sectors will go a long way toward boosting the diesel market share in the U.S.”
Ford F-Series Is the Top-Selling Pickup for 40 Straight Years
“The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling pickup truck for an unprecedented 40 consecutive years. Having a new diesel version of the most popular vehicle in America is a major step forward for diesel’s long-term future in the U.S., and will offer pick-up truck customers another fuel-efficient choice.”
GMC Terrain Popular in Fast-Growing U.S. SUV Market
“The compact SUV market is booming in the U.S., and the new GMC Terrain diesel should be well-received by U.S. drivers,” Schaeffer said. “The Terrain has been a major component of GMC’s growth in North America and should be extremely popular as the U.S. SUV market expands in the coming years.”
Schaeffer predicted that both the diesel engine options in the Ford F-150 and GMC Terrain will be embraced by consumers, along with the top-selling Mazda CX-5 and its highly anticipated SKYACTIV-D diesel option coming in 2017, as well as a new diesel engine option for the Chevrolet Equinox. With these new entries, an efficiency and performance race is emerging in the pickup truck and crossover market segments, with strong 2016 performances by the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel, GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado already on the books.
Future of Light-Duty Diesel Market in U.S.
“Much has been said about the viability of diesel in passenger cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. in the wake of the “dieselgate” emissions scandal. SUVs and light trucks largely carried the U.S. diesel market in 2016 in addition to smaller numbers of luxury cars and SUVs diesel options. While the “dieselgate” scandal and loss of 13 vehicle choices resulted in a major decline in U.S. vehicle sales in late 2015 and early 2016, cumulatively, still 115,337 diesels were sold in the U.S. last year, not including any of the domestic heavy-duty diesel pickup truck sales where diesel has over 10% of the market. Even with fewer vehicle choices for the U.S. market, coupled with delays in government product certifications, 2016 diesel vehicle sales have still regained about 20% of the market share formerly held by VW,” Schaeffer said.
American Public Remains Open to Consider Clean Diesel Vehicles
“In the last 18 months, our public opinion research has reinforced the idea that Americans continue to keep an open mind to consider diesel options even in the wake of the VW emissions crisis. The 2016 diesel sales trends validate those consumer perceptions, and these announcements reinforce leading manufacturer commitments to the diesel powertrain.
“Diesels continue to be popular in the light-duty pickup truck market and SUV market, and automakers are continuing to add new options in this sector, because diesel engines offer a no-compromise option to achieve proven higher fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions without sacrifice to performance or vehicle utility. Beyond the lower CO2 emissions, superb performance and efficiency, an added feature is the ability to use blends of low-carbon renewable high-quality biodiesel fuels now available in a growing number of locations. Because of all this, we are extremely optimistic about the future of diesel vehicles in the U.S.”