The Volkswagen diesel scandal has impacted not just VW, but other automakers that want to sell diesel cars in the U.S. Following the revelation that Volkswagen used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests, all new diesels have been subject to more scrutiny.
That doesn’t mean carmakers are giving up on diesel, though. Late last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified 2017 BMW diesel models for sale in the United States, Reuters reports. The Bimmers’ launch had been delayed because of extra testing and reviews of data conducted by the EPA.
BMW’s 2017 diesel lineup includes the 328d sedan and wagon, and the X3 xDrive28d and X5 xDrive35d SUVs. The carmaker previously said that diesels accounted for about 4 percent of its 2015 U.S. sales. Diesels have never been particularly big sellers in the U.S. but, Volkswagen aside, they have been more popular in luxury cars than mainstream models.
While BMW is in the clear, rival Mercedes-Benz still faces some obstacles to getting its 2017 diesels certified. In April, the company was asked by the U.S. Justice Department to investigate its own emissions tests, and was hit with a lawsuit alleging that a particular 3.0-liter V6 powertrain produced higher levels of pollutants than Mercedes said. Last month, Mercedes parent Daimler also said it was being investigated by the EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Volkswagen hasn’t even asked the EPA for permission to sell 2017 diesel models. While it doesn’t plan to abandon diesels entirely, VW Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said last month that Volkswagen won’t return to selling them in the U.S. in large numbers, citing stricter emissions standards set to take effect in the coming years.
General Motors, meanwhile, hopes to take advantage of VW’s situation. It plans to actively target current Volkswagen diesel owners with a new Chevrolet Cruze diesel set to launch next year. Despite the VW scandal, GM is bullish on diesels, encouraged by strong sales of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon diesel trucks.
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