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Car and Driver: BMW Sticking With Diesel in the U.S.

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2014-bmw-328d-xdrive-m-sport-wagon-photo-655738-s-986x603

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The backlash to Volkswagen’s diesel-emissions cheating won’t scare BMW away from selling diesel engines in the United States, its director of research and development insisted recently.

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Even with some 500,000 Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche vehicles being identified by the EPA as releasing too many NOx emissions, Dr. Klaus Fröhlich insisted there was no reason for BMW to walk away from diesel engines in its U.S. lineup.

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“We have no reason to give up on diesel in the United States,” he insisted. “It’s still one-third of the X cars we sell there, they’re strong on diesel. The customers that have had diesel cars from us are really diesel fans.”

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While one German newspaper has hinted that BMW has exceed NOx emissions limits in real-world measures, tests by the California Air Review Board and the EPA have not reported any irregularities from BMW diesels, and BMW has always insisted its cars have met all regulatory requirements.

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“The diesel systems for emissions in the U.S. and in Europe are more and more the same, so it’s not a problem of engineering for us to keep making diesels,” Fröhlich noted.

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In the United States, BMW currently sells diesel versions of its 3-series (328d xDrive sedan and wagon), 5-series (535d with rear- or all-wheel drive), X3 (xDrive28d), and X5 (xDrive35d). Diesels accounted for approximately 6 percent of BMW’s total U.S. sales in 2015, and the company did not see any drop off in demand in the wake of the Volkswagen crisis.

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“The reality is that heavy cars in the U.S. will stay with diesel power because they need to. There are very low fuel prices at the moment, so buyers aren’t jumping over to plug-in hybrids [such as BMW's X5 xDrive40e]. And we have our corporate [fuel economy] targets to achieve,” he explained. “Diesel is the only way to do that.”

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2014 BMW X5 xDrive35d Diesel Tested: Now With More Attractive Pricing and Smoother Operation

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