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Could VW crisis bring more diesels to USA?

by David Zatz on

Writing in Automotive News, Nick Gibbs wrote that the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandals could finally bring unified emissions standards around the world, or at least between the US and Europe. This would make it far easier for FCA US to use their panoply of highly respected diesel engines in the United States.

Cummins diesel engine

In recent years, FCA has used just two diesel engines in its own US-sale cars: the VM 3.0 liter V6, and a Fiat 3.0 liter commercial-truck four. Meanwhile, GM used another Fiat four-cylinder diesel in a compact car, with mixed results; GM is now working to its own overseas operations for a new engine.

Potentially, FCA US could solve its emissions issues by turning towards either hybrids or diesels, but a mix of the two would probably be easier to sell. Hybrids work particularly well in cities and densely populated suburbs, while diesels are suited to heavy loads and to highway travel as well as stop-and-go traffic.  Both carry extra costs, but a good deal of engineering cost would be eliminated if more markets had the same testing regimens and standards. The reduced cost would both increase sales and make it easier for executives to green-light diesel engines which may or may not take off — which is problematic now: the Ram 1500 diesel has been a runaway success, while Grand Cherokee customers seem to have dismissed the same powertrain.

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