More (Expensive) Audi Clean Diesels for the US

German manufacturer Audi is planning to bring more of its clean diesel technology in the US, both as a way to move forward and as a means to an end, as the country's emission and mileage regulations become more and more demanding. However, according to Rupert Stadler, Audi CEO, clean doesn't come cheap for the carmaker, nor for the consumer.

"I think the problem is that we don't really have an honest discussion,” Stadler was quoted as saying at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show by Autonews. “There is a very, very high level of investment, and nobody today knows if the return will come.

According to Stadler's American counterpart, Johan de Nysschen, the Audi diesel expansion in the US will likely reach some 20-25 percent of the volume sold. His estimate is based on the numbers provided by the manufacturer's Q7. So far, the SUV has a 35 percent penetration.

Still, he too believes the investment-sales price of clean diesels don't make for much of a change in the company's finances. “There certainly is a price premium, which we are partially recovering, but not totally,” de Nysschen told the source.

For comparison, rival BMW on the other hand has the opposite approach. Jim O'Donnell, BMW North America CEO said the company's new clean diesels, present in all 50 US states, will be at the center of the development strategy in future years, despite the inevitable rise of the hybrids.

As current diesel powered engines aren't enough, BMW will bring diesel engines to other models in its range as well, in an attempt to reach a targeted and more modest 10-20 percent diesel penetration in the US.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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