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September 15, 2016   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

One Year After the VW Emissions Confession and the Diesel Market Is _______?

If anything, the VW issue has hammered home the fact that many consumers never lost faith in the technology, despite the unfortunate decision made by one manufacturer.


If you guessed “Dead”, “On its Way Out”, or “Replaced by EVs” you’re wrong. Some insightful industry analysts, opinion columnists and even political pundits, made these predictions and the diesel passenger vehicle market in the U.S. is still with us. Admittedly, the diesel passenger vehicle market is hardly growing by leaps and bounds but is about where it was right before VW’s confession and sales continue to march upwards. In fact, diesel passenger vehicle sales are above EV sales, making diesel a popular alternative choice for consumers. Diesel’s resiliency shows that it is still a popular choice for consumers.Monthly Diesel Sales by Type

Diesel’s resiliency has been largely explained by the health of the light truck segment. Right before the announcement from VW on September 18, 2015, diesel sales made up 0.96 percent of the all vehicle sales for August 2015 and VW diesel models comprised 58 percent of all diesel sales that month. After the announcement sales of VW, Porsche and Audi diesel models were suspended, contracting the number of consumer choices almost in half. Fast forward to August 31, 2016, and diesel passenger vehicles make up 0.80 percent of the passenger vehicle market that month even as VW diesel models are still off the market. Okay, the market has not returned entirely to its peak, but it is certainly not extinct. The void has mostly been filled by light truck sales. In fact, since the September 2015 announcement from VW, several new diesel models have hit the market and we will likely see more in the near future.

If anything, the VW issue has hammered home the fact that many consumers never lost faith in the technology, despite the unfortunate decision made by one manufacturer. After all, we all consider air bags as a necessary safety technology despite the unfortunate decisions made by a single manufacturer. Diesel provides unique benefits and attributes desired by consumers and these attributes – fuel economy, driving range, performance, among many others – may not be the same benefits and attributes provided by other alternatives like EVs. Thankfully, for consumers there are options provided in the market place and diesel will be one technology option and will be with us for quite some time.

 



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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy
efinkin@dieselforum.org
301-668-7230

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