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Despite Retreat by Some Makers, Diesel Not Dead Yet

BMW cleared to sell diesels in U.S. after meeting new, tougher standard.

by on Sep.07, 2016

BMW delayed the launch of its various diesel models in the U.S. due to added testing, which they have passed.

For years, Volkswagen set the stage for the comeback for the diesel engine for the U.S. market and its continued growth worldwide. Now it appears to be the leader in killing it.

The German automaker’s recent scandal has not only cast doubt in the minds of potential buyers of diesels, it has other automakers reconsidering their diesel-center plans. Renault executives recently stated that they expect diesel engines to disappear … in Europe.

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The announcement came after the French automaker examined the costs of meeting tougher emissions standards after the VW scandal. According to Reuters, the determination was revealed during an internal meeting earlier this summer. (more…)

BMW Debuting Diesel 7-Series at Chicago Auto Show

Maker anticipated as much as 25% boost in mileage.

by on Jan.28, 2014

BMW enters the premium diesel market with the 740Ld xDrive coming this spring.

Taking the lead from its rival Audi, BMW will add a new diesel version of its flagship 7-Series sedan, the new 740Ld xDrive set to make its debut next month at the Chicago Auto Show.

German makers have been at the forefront when it comes to re-introducing Americans to diesel power and BMW already has a range of oil-burners in its line-up, including the 328d and 328d xDrive Sedans, the 328d xDrive Sports Wagon, the 535d and 535d xDrive Sedans and X5 xDrive35d Sports Activity Vehicle.  But this is the first time that it has offered a diesel for the big 7-Series.

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Audi introduced a diesel version of its A8 for the 2014 model-year and it remains to be seen if Mercedes-Benz might follow suit with the new S-Class.  German automakers consider themselves the leaders in diesel technology and the sales have increased modestly over the past two years as new models have come to the American market.

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BMW, Toyota To Swap Hybrid Engines for Diesels

Makers would share some of their strongest assets.

by on Nov.29, 2011

Toyota will swap hybrid technology used in models like the 2012 Prius v for BMW's diesel technology.

BMW and Toyota have reportedly agreed to swap diesel and hybrid powertrains in an effort to improve their fleet fuel economy.

Such partnerships are becoming increasingly popular as automakers face the rapid increase in government-mandated mileage standards in key markets such as the U.S., Europe, Japan and China.  The challenge for even the best manufacturers is to ensure they can not only meet new regulations but do it in a way that lives up to customer expectations.

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As part of their new alliance BMW would supply some of its advanced diesel technology to Toyota in return for some of the Japanese maker’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrains.  Toyota is the world’s biggest seller of hybrid-electric vehicles, its Prius model accounting for roughly half of global hybrid demand.

According to Automotive News a formal announcement of the partnership would likely be made this week at the Tokyo Motor Show.

BMW was a latecomer to hybrid power and has been struggling to play catch-up, with a gas-electric version of its 5-Series line to be announced at the biennial Tokyo event.  While Toyota has dominated the hybrid field it, in turn, has been slow to embrace diesel technology.

So have its key Japanese rivals – but that appears to be changing.  Mazda plans to offer a diesel version of its new high-mileage Skyactiv system and a senior Honda official told TheDetroitBureau.com that the maker is also working to expand its diesel line-up.  Significantly, as the Tokyo debut of the 5-Series “oil-burner” suggests, there are signs that diesel demand is expected to grow out of its traditional European stronghold, with sales on the rise in both the U.S. and Japan.

It’s not the first time the two makers have turned to partnerships to expand their powertrain and vehicle options.

BMW previously joined a hybrid consortium that also included General Motors, Chrysler and Daimler AG.  That helped it develop the Bavarian maker’s first hybrid offering though BMW has since walked away from that alliance.

Toyota, meanwhile, will unveil its new GT86 sports car at the Tokyo Motor Show, a vehicle it has developed in partnership with Japan’s smaller automaker Subaru – which will market its own version of the two-seater as the Subaru BRZ.  Toyota is also allied with Silicon Valley-based Tesla Motors.  The start-up battery car maker will, among other things, handle the development of the Toyota RAV-4 EV, due out in less than two years.

Toyota also announced a partnership with Ford, in August, to jointly develop new hybrid SUVs and trucks.  The U.S. maker, for its part, pays a licensing fee to Toyota for patents covering the gas-electric technologies it uses in models such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

GM Confirms Chevrolet Cruze Diesel for 2013; Could Get 51 MPG

Will other makers follow with diesels of their own?

by on Jul.22, 2011

Chevy will add a diesel to the Cruze line-up for 2013.

General Motors has formally confirmed it will add a high-mileage diesel to its Chevrolet Cruze line starting with the 2013 model-year.

The long-rumored diesel is likely to be an adaptation of the 2.0-liter VCDi direct-injection “oil-burner” already offered in Europe on their version of the Chevy compact.  Insiders report that the diesel could deliver as much as 51 miles per gallon – significantly more than the current Cruze Eco and in line with the Toyota Prius Hybrid.

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For its part, GM won’t do more than confirm plans to add the diesel, but that is a distinct reversal of the company’s long-standing opposition to the technology.  Former GM car czar Bob Lutz, in particular, had argued that the cost of meeting U.S. emissions standards was too high.

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BMW May Slash Diesel Price Premium

Automaker considering AWD 3-Series diesel, other changes.

by on Sep.02, 2009

Would a $2,000 price cut - and all-wheel-drive - boost demand for the BMW 335d and other diesel models?

Would a $2,000 price cut - and all-wheel-drive - boost demand for the BMW 335d and other diesel models?

Struggling to boost the appeal of diesel-powered products, BMW of North America hopes to win approval from the German automaker’s board to directors to cut prices and add new features, such as all-wheel-drive.

Though sales of the maker’s first two diesels, the X5 35d Sport Activity Vehicle, and the 335d sedan, have been reasonably strong, says BMW of North America CEO Jim O’Donnell, there’s significant room to boost volumes, he tells TheDetroitBureau.com.

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“We’re trying to convince our colleagues in Germany that if you price diesels right, there’s a market for it,” despite the traditional concerns about the technology among American motorists, says O’Donnell.  “It was an experiment and we think we’ve been asking too much of a premium.”

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BMW Sees Green

Automaker must launch an array of alternative powertrains - without sacrificing its performance roots.

by on Sep.02, 2009

From hybrids to hydrogen vehicles, BMW promises to go green, but can the maker hold down costs – and maintain the distinctive ride and performance that justifies its hefty product premium?

From hybrids to hydrogen vehicles - and possibly with diesel-hybrids, like this Vision Concept - BMW promises to go green, but can the maker hold down costs – and maintain the distinctive ride and performance that justifies its hefty product premium?

BMW has an alternative Vision of the future.

No, the Vision show car making its debut at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, this month, won’t be rolling into showrooms anytime soon.  Its diesel-hybrid powertrain is far too complicated and expensive to produce – for now.  But Vision concept underscores the automaker’s increasingly energetic search for cleaner, high-mileage technology that can supplement, potentially even replace, the traditional powertrains that it has long relied on.

But “going green” poses some potentially serious challenges for the company, officials acknowledge.  For one thing, while new laws may require – and consumers demand – cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles, the German maker must maintain the distinctive performance and ride that allows it to charge a premium for vehicles ranging from the subcompact 1-Series to its big 7-er sedans.

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There’s also the issue of cost.  Despite the traditional premium consumers have paid for the marque’s “spinner” logo, BMW officials question how much more motorists will shell out for “clean” vehicles.

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