Yet More German Support for Diesel Alternatives
BMW board member says hybrids not the only green solution
BMW has hybrids, of course, but they are reserved for performance models, like the full hybrid X6, and don't exactly deliver impressive fuel-economy gains over the nonhybrid models. Board member for sales and marketing Ian Robinson says that this allows drivers a compromise without sacrificing power; he cites himself as an example, saying he drives to work on the autobahn at top speed in a BMW hybrid model -- he did not specify which -- then switches to all-electric mode for the last leg of his commute.
However, he also notes that 60 to 70 percent of European BMW sales are for clean diesel models -- a relatively eco-friendly solution that the U.S. market has been slow to embrace at least in part, he notes, because of the smoky, poor-performing models that many Americans associate with diesel thanks to the old-technology models from the 1970s.
In order to get Americans to even consider the technology, dealerships have resorted to guerrilla-like tactics, such as sending potential drivers out on a test drive and not telling them until they returned that the vehicle was a diesel with a 600-mile capacity.
Even if U.S. consumers aren't yet sold, the media seem to be. At the aforementioned Green Car Awards, two of the five finalists were clean diesels and the winner was a diesel -- which, in fact, marked a two-years-straight trend (the Jetta TDI won last year). All of the companies with diesel horses in the race were, of course, European.
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