Thursday, December 10, 2009

More Diesel Car Coming, German, Indian Makers Selling Diesels

The LA Auto Show is going on this week, which will lead to a lot of concept cars getting buzzed about as the cars of the 2010s (which is only four weeks away, how time flies) start to take shape. This Popular Mechanics article talks about diesel cars and how most of the US and Japanese auto makers are avoiding diesel engines.

However, the German car makers are big diesel fans; given that Mr. Diesel was German, it’s natural for them to back their hometown technology. One interesting concept car that is mentioned is the VW Up Light, which is a diesel-battery hybrid that gets 70MPG. New clean diesel fuel and engines make diesel cars and trucks far less polluting than in the past; Audi has been running a "Diesel: It's No Longer a Dirty Word" campaign to remind people of the changes in the technology.

The lede might have been buried in this piece, for only in the final paragraph does it mention that Indian car maker Mahindra is poised to enter the US market this year with a mid-sized pickup that will come with only a diesel engine; Mahindra is better known stateside for their agricultural tractors. I would have expected Tata to be the first Indian car company to get an American toe-hold, but they’ve been beaten to the march.

The prospect of more diesel in cars and light trucks would be a double-edged sword for the trucking industry. It would increase the demand for diesel which would raise the price, but a broader demand for diesel would tend to create more stable price for diesel.

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