The rise and rise of Diesel (part 5)

Read an article in the weekend edition of a German financial paper (Handelsblatt, in case you ask...) that a US sales target of 3000 E320 CDI for the year had been reached in about 5 months.
Of course, 3000 cars is insignifiant in the overall context of the US market, even comparing with Chrysler cars only but, given that this is a relatively expensive 'specialist' vehicle (in the US because diesel), this also sounds like some progress in diesel acceptability in the US.
Opinions?
DAS
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Always some pent up demand - M-B hasn't sold diesels here since '99. These are not being sold in California, some New England states and I believe New York state. In two years the sulfur limits in the fuel will be lower and these CDI engines might then be sold in all states.
There's a considerable selling job to be done before diesels are acceptable in the US.
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

Yes: - The sales target was fixed too low intentionally as they were obviously afraid they can not sell many of them - The market for such cars was left by Mercedes years ago without real need and the return should have been done much earlier - Mercedes is selling old technology as the emissions standard is yesteryear's EURO 3 only - the E 280 CDI would have been the model of choice, it meets the current EURO 4 standard and is indeed the very same 320 engine with the very same displacement of 3222 ccm but with reduced power output which is 177 PS instead of 204 PS (201 hp in the US) - My personal opinion is we will see the S 400 CDI in the US in some time in the future I can not understand why that model isn't on the US market yet - powerful diesel engines will become a not-to-neglect market in the US, too
Juergen
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They may be holding the V-8 diesel back until the new S-Class is introduced in '06 MY.
I'd buy one of those!
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On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 00:42:32 +0200, "Dori A Schmetterling"

they are importing 3k cdis to the US, the started t arrive in late april ( I got one of the first ones). I can't say how well they are selling but I do know that one dealer who had 25 of them now only has 5. For the most part people in the US are quite ignorant when it comes to greatness of the new diesels.
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When I visited the USA first in 1994, I remember a fuel price of about one dollar per gallon, which back then was roughly one quarter of german price. If my memory serves me right, fuel prices in the US have doubled over the past few years. For somebody like me, who is used to expensive fuel, US fuel still looks incredibly cheap, while someboody who lives in the US today has to spend far more of his salary at the petrol station. 25 years ago there was a slight diesel boom, Even 20 years ago I saw lots of W123 diesel cars in Florida. Mercedes even produced Diesel cars for the US which were not officially available on the german market, the W123 300D coup and the W126 300 SDL. These cars offered low fuel consumption for the price of poor power output and a noisy and rattling engine (Had a W123 240D automatic on my own, so I know how 72 HP feel in a 1,7 ton car). In Germany these cars were only popular because Diesel fuel is substantially cheaper, so taxicab drivers loved them.
Today's diesels are different. They offer the same power and usually far more torque than gas engines of the same displacement. Smoothness and sound level have by far improved. In Germany often it is a matter of calculation, wether you buy a Diesel or not: Fuel is cheaper (roughly 20%), tax and insurance are higher, maintenance schedules are shorter, resale value is higher. If you look for your money, it is hard to lose with a Diesel Mercedes. Besides that today many people buy a Diesel for sheer fun, because they love to have twice the torque of a gas engine, at 30% less fuel consumption. They love the long range (VW currently does TV advertising on that topic) and they enjoy the feeling of saving money at every tank stop, (while tax and insurance are withdrawn from your bank account only once a year). My Citroen with 2.0-Litre gas engine needs a new fill of 95 or 98 octane gas every 500 kilometres, which usually cost me some 85 dollars - can you imagine how interestig I found my test ride on a Toyota Prius, which simply cuts fuel cost by 50%?
For me it is obvious that the big diesel engines in the E- and S-clas are very desireable for everyone who has to pay for his fuel himself. Just imagine an S-class with a highway mileage of a Toyota Corolla! I think that Mercedes is a little bit afraid of low quality diesel fuel and untrained mechanics, whho could spoil the reputation of their current diesel engines. But once these issues are solved, I do not see any reason not to sell these cars successfully everywhere in the world.
Frank
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In all the time I can remember -- that's 30 years plus -- the price of fuel in the US has never been more than half of western European levels (bearing mind that these used to vary more across the region than they do now), often much less.
From what I picked up in newsgroups is that GM sold some really awful diesel cars in the US many years ago, which spoiled the market.
As regards diesels in Germany and other countries where the diesel price was lower than the petrol price (not the UK!) (often counterbalanced by higher car taxation), I think their relative popularity was also helped by the much greater longevity and reliability of the engines, as well as fuel economy. Then, as now, they held their value better. When working in Germany 1980 - 2 I had a company W123 200D (only 60 PS) and it weighed 1.4 t IIRC.
With the increasing complexity of diesel engines and development on the petrol side I am not sure that diesel motors are still longer-lasting in general, but all the other factors still apply (except price advantage in the UK). Otherwise diesels wouldn't be enjoying such phenominal growth in the UK. As I probably said before, the S-Class 320 D is the top-selling 'exec' car in the UK.
DAS
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Frank Kemper wrote:

As we are in a Mercedes car group I feel free to nutpick, excluxively built for North America were also:
W123 300D TURBODIESEL (sedan) 89 kw/121 PS, later 92 kw/125 PS
W116 300SD 82 kw/111 PS, later 89 kw/121 PS built 05/78-09/80
W126 300SD TURBODIESEL 89 kw/121 PS, later 92 kw/125 PS built 10/80-08/85
(The above mentioned W126 300 SDL TURBODIESEL had 110 kw/150 PS and was built 02/85-09/87)
W126 350SD TURBODIESEL 100 kw/136 PS built 06/90-08/91
W126 350SDL TURBODIESEL 100 kw/136 PS built 06/90-08/91
W201 190D 2.2 54 kw/73 PS built 11/83-08/85
W130 300SD from 10/1991-10/1992 exclusively for the NA market, later also for other markets
Juergen
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Frank Kemper wrote:

Sorry to nutpick again, but W123 240D w/auto trans is 1435 kg.

Plus they are lacking a ignition system which made them more trouble-free than gasoline cars, not to speak of gasoline cars with carburettors.
Ok, ok, I keep my mouth shut now!
Juergen
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

Acceptability, yes, and we will be getting Number 1 diesel next year I believe.
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