Diesel paying its way quicker than hybrids?

Trollhattan Saab – May, 2005

Jay Spenchian should really be pushing for GM to test the diesel-waters in the US for the 9-3 Sport Sedan, Sport Combi and Convertible. We’re right at the beginning of a new dawn for diesel and Saab is well positioned to take advantage.

Trollhattan Saab – Sept 2005:

I mentioned here the other day that Bob Lutz doesn’t think diesels are a certainty for the US, though I’m pretty certain that Saab’s competition will be introducing them when the legislation makes the commercial environment better suited. A failure on GM’s part to get this right will lead to a huge loss of marketshare. There’s been enough comments here and elsewhere to make this decision an apparent no-brainer. The old adage that American customers wouldn’t accept them because they’re scarred by bad memories of diesels is rightly squished by The AutoProphet when he says that “the myth would be dispelled the moment that modern diesel engine cars from Europe [were] demonstrated here.”

Edmunds – January 2006:

While diesel clearly isn’t the answer to everyone’s prayers, the U.S. market is unquestionably missing out on the modern diesel phenomenon. Bountiful torque, excellent refinement and a huge range are qualities well suited to the American highway. It is surely time to put away the prejudices of the 1970s and embrace the modern diesel engine.

SaabUSA – May 2006:

Before we make a strong – and expensive – push to make Saab diesels compliant with US regulations and bring it over here, we have to make sure that it is worth the effort for the relatively small brand that we are.
Currently, we are not convinced that such is the case.

Trollhattan Saab – April 2007:

I kept writing about this ad infinitum until I got a chance to discuss it with Saab USA. At that time I was told that the 1.9 diesel used in Europe wasn’t compliant with US emissions laws, and it’d be too expensive to undergo the compliance tests for Saab anyway. They didn’t see a big market for diesel at the time due to the higher cost of the fuel there and the added cost of manufacture. They were, however, open to reassessment in all of this.
Fast forward to today’s story, and we learn that this very same 1.9 litre diesel engine might be making a US debut in the Astra for Saturn. The only obstacle that’s mentioned in the article is the additional $1,000 or so that the oilburner would add to the price of the Astra. No mention is made of compliance.

Autoblog – May 2006:

Autoblog reported yesterday that diesel’s accounted for 22% of Volkswagen’s US sales in the first four months of 2006.

Trollhattan Saab – May 2006:

if Saab don’t prepare for the new US regulations on diesel and get these highly successful and well regarded cars to the US market – then they’ve got rocks in their heads.

Bob Lutz – September 2007

We have the gravest of doubts that diesels are the solution.

Autoweek – January 2008:

BMW will begin selling two new performance-oriented diesel models in North America in 2008–the 335d sedan and X5 3.0sd SUV.
Both vehicles run a specially adapted version of BMW’s existing 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder common rail diesel engine. The diesel is fitted with an oxidation catalyst, particulate filter and a system to reduce nitric oxide outpt, which allows the powertrain to be sold in all 50 states.

Trollhattan Saab – January 2008

The Saab TTiD is a brilliant engine and should be sold in the US. I’d defy any US driver to have a crack at it and not enjoy it.

Thos quotes were all from a post back in January 2008 and I haven’t covered the “Diesel for the US” campaign much since then.
Perhaps it’s time to get back on the train. With a new owner coming on board, maybe they’ll see the sense in getting Saab into the US diesel market.
The latest quote to add to the pile is this one:
Edmunds Auto Observer – July 2009

With gasoline and diesel fuel prices staying low — and uncharacteristically consistent — as the summer progresses, data analysts at Edmunds.com, parent of AutoObserver, did a recent crunch of the often-discussed payback times for the nation’s two competing fuel-saving drivetrains: hybrid-electric and diesel-engine vehicles.
The latest round goes to diesel.
There are two factors currently working in diesel’s favor. First, diesel fuel prices have dropped precipitously since last summer’s explosion to $4 per gallon (and beyond) and normalized to pricing quite near regular unleaded gasoline.
Second, the price “premium” for diesel technologies is low — and in a few cases, combines with federal tax credits to make the diesel-powered vehicle actually cheaper than a comparable gasoline-engine variant of the same model. For those vehicles, diesel engine payback time is immediate.

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