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German carmakers start clean diesel initiative in the USA

12 December 2012

Six German companies—the car makers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen, as well as the component supplier Bosch Group—started a “clean diesel” marketing campaign in the United States. Using the slogan “Clean Diesel. Clearly Better.” the campaign emphasizes the benefits of current technology diesel passenger cars, compared to gasoline vehicles, in terms of emissions, fuel consumption and performance.

The initiative, developed by VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie, a German association of the automotive industry) in partnership with VDA member companies, launched a clearlybetterdiesel.org website and will be conducting accompanying offline actions in the US market. The common goal is to promote clean diesel cars among the US consumers. The website includes a calculator to estimate annual fuel savings with diesel and a number of visual tools that illustrate the benefits of modern diesels compared to gasoline cars and to old generation diesel engines.

The diesel market share of newly registered light vehicles in the United States is only 2.6%, compared to the 55% diesel share in Western Europe. While this overall market share is still very low, a strong growth of US sales was seen in the recent years. The sales of diesel passenger cars by German manufacturers—who hold a 100% market share in the United States—more than doubled in the past three years. In the first nine months of this year, about 69,600 diesel cars were sold in the USA, compared to 30,600 units in the same period of 2009—an increase by 127%.

The total US sales of light-duty diesel vehicles—including cars and light trucks—grew strongly as well. 284,400 diesel vehicles were sold over the first nine months of 2012, compared to 160,000 unis in the same period of 2009—an increase of 78%. German manufacturers increased their market share in the light-duty diesel vehicles segment from 25% to 37%—their sales increased from 40,000 to 104,000 units.

The first event where the new campaign intends to be visible is the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to be held in January 2013 in Detroit, MI. The campaign adopted a “clean diesel” logo that will be used by the participating companies in ads, banners, commercials, product brochures and in their showrooms. Participation in the initiative is open to other manufacturers and suppliers.

It is not the first time manufacturers join forces to support the growth of the diesel market in the United States. Back in 2006, several carmakers considered a joint marketing front under the BlueTEC brand introduced by Daimler.

Source: VDA