In Europe, half of the cars sold are diesels. In The U.S. and especially in Japan, automakers literally wrinkled their nose at oil-burning cars. This is slowly changing, says The Nikkei [sub].
In India, a market owned nearly 50 percent by Suzuki, gas prices have soared 36 percent over the past year and a half, while diesel prices have increased by a more modest 14 percent.
Diesel-less Suzuki was blindsided by a wholesale shift to diesel. It dragged down Suzuki’s sales from April 2011 through February 2012 by 13 percent on the year. Mahindra & Mahindra has diesel and saw its sales jump by 36 percent. Suzuki did react by buying diesel engines from Fiat, much to the chagrin of Volkswagen.
Honda has developed a new diesel engine for the first time in six years. It plans to use it in Civics produced at Honda’s plant in Wiltshire, England.
Toyota forged an alliance with BMW to supply mid-sized diesel engines that will go into Toyota’s European offerings.
In the U.S., diesel market share is below 3 percent, in Japan, the share is below one percent. The Nikkei sees “signs that diesel cars are even appealing to consumers in Japan.”
In its first month of sales in February, Mazda received about 8,000 orders for its new CX-5 sport-utility vehicle, with diesel models accounting for 73 percent.