BMW has announced it remains committed to selling diesel-powered sedans and crossovers in the United States in spite of Volkswagen’s recent Dieselgate scandal.
“We have no reason to give up on diesel in the United States. It’s still one third of the X cars we sell here, they’re strong on diesel,” explained Dr. Klaus Fröhlich, the head of BMW’s research and development department, in an interview with Australian website Motoring.
Consumer demand isn’t the only reason why BMW will stick with diesel-burning engines in the foreseeable future. Fröhlich pointed out that the Munich-based car maker has strict fuel economy targets to meet, and it’s having a difficult time convincing buyers in the United States to look at hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars because gas prices are so low. Diesel engines are generally more efficient than gasoline-burning mills, so selling diesel-powered cars on our side of the pond helps BMW’s North American division boost its fleet’s fuel economy figures.
Offering diesels in the United States is easier today than it was a couple of years ago, and the process is only going to get simpler. BMW affirms that emissions regulations on both sides of the pond are becoming increasingly similar each year, a trend which saves European car makers a considerable amount of money because they don’t have to go through the time-consuming process of redesigning an entire engine before it’s certified by the EPA.
Other industry players see a much dimmer future for the compression-ignition engine. Elmar Degenhart, the CEO of German parts supplier Continental, recently predicted that diesel-powered passenger cars could ultimately disappear from the United States market altogether. The executive argued that oil-burners weren’t very popular here to begin with, and that the Dieselgate scandal was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.