German luxury carmaker BMW is rolling out in 2013 a new range of sporty new diesel sedans in the United States, aiming to attract drivers looking for vehicles that allow them to savor speed while relishing fuel efficiency. The new range of sporty diesel sedans will complement the carmaker’s sole diesel vehicle in the US market, the X5 xDrive 35d sports utility vehicle.
BMW hopes the new range of diesel vehicles will move more consumers to prefer them. Diesel-powered vehicles offer around 25-percent better fuel consumption than conventional cars, but German carmakers like Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have been having a hard time making them popular in the US, due to a poor image, higher fuel prices compared to gasoline, and a dotted filling station infrastructure.
In an interview with Reuters, Ludwig Willisch, president of BMW of North America, remarked that the X5 diesel is selling “like hot cakes,” thus helping them ascertain that there would be strong customer acceptance as long as they have the right product. He also divulged BMW’s next step after rolling out the new diesel sedans in the US -- launching a four-cylinder diesel in the 3 Series, as well as a six-cylinder diesel in the 5 Series this year.
According to Willisch, around a quarter of the 56,800 X5 SUVs that BMW sold in 2013 were powered by a diesel engine, making the SUV the No. 2 diesel vehicle in the US. The cheaper Volkswagen Jetta TDI holds the spot as the top-selling vehicle in the country. Willisch was head of the group's sales activities in Europe, where diesel penetration surged from just over 20 percent in 1997 to 56 percent in 2012, thanks partly to a more beneficial tax treatment in many European countries.