Subtitle: Godzilla dons a beret
Offered in Europe since 2005, the front engine / front wheel drive, mid-size Opel Vauxhall Signum features a common rail, turbocharged, intercooled diesel engine. It represents a half-decade joint venture between GM and Fiat. The 110kW model with the manual transmission emits 157 g/km of CO2; the 88kW with the automatic transmissions emits 192 g/km of CO2.
Although Americans and Japanese have yet to adopt diesel passenger cars with much enthusiasm, peak oil may change the market. it would seem that at least Fukui and Ghosn believe Americans should re-consider diesel-powered passenger cars. Takeo Fukui, President & CEO, Honda Motor, was recently in the news stating that plug-in hybrids were impractical. And, it is apparent from the information at the Tokyo Auto Show that Honda’s Clean Diesel technology is coming to the US in the form of 2.2L Honda Accord.
With this (Editor’s note: see previous GCC reference) catalytic converter, the i-DTEC engine series is capable of exceeding the proposed Euro6 regulation… and we will consider introducing this engine with the catalytic converter in Europe in addition to the US and Japan.—Takeo Fukui
At the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, Honda displayed its new advanced 2.2-liter diesel engine that complies with the coming Euro 5 emissions standards. This engine will debut in the new Accord range in Europe in mid-2008.
Autoblog Green anticipates the diesel V-6, for which Honda is developing for availability in vehicles like the Ridgeline and Odyssey, “also will wind up under the hood of some Acura sedans like the next generation TL.”
There may well be other 2009 Japanese models with diesel engines available on the American passenger car market. ABG editor Sam Abuelsamid points out that Nissan is working with corporate partner Renault on a new 3.0L V-6 clean diesel for 2010.
[In addition to the Maxima, the engine could] find it’s way into a wide variety of vehicles from the company, including the upscale Infiniti brand. Back in mid-August Nissan filed several new trademarks including EX30D, G30D, FX30D, and M30D. These names all fit Infiniti’s standard nomenclature with a 3.0L engine and the D designating a diesel. The attractive G30D would be a particularly appealing combination in the mid-sized sport sedan market.
Which leaves Toyota. In 2005 Toyota introduced the D-CAT (Diesel Clean Advanced Technology) range of diesel engines in Euro-Accord models. Last month Toyota – Isuzu jointly announced development of small diesel engines. Isuzu will make the engines to be installed in vehicles sold by Toyota. Still Toyota so far is taking a wait-and-see approach to introducing diesel-powered passenger cars in the United States, perhaps, due in part to the success of their hybrid electric vehicles.
PSA Peugeot Citroën is Western Europe’s second-largest car maker, with a marketshare of 14.5%. PSA and its European competition VW-Audi are preparing for stiff competition from Honda, Nissan-Renault, and Toyota.
As previously noted, the main event really is in Europe. Will Japanese diesel-powered passenger cars acquire a sizable chunk of the market? More and more offerings are appearing. in 2008 Fuji Heavy will introduce a diesel-powered Impreza in Europe. To compete in the European diesel sub-compact market, the new Subaru a year will feature the new boxer turbodiesel engine from Fuji Heavy.
With rising oil prices, some market watchers predict a resurgence of interest in diesel powered passenger vehicles in North America. Yet an unknown for all markets, including the vigorous European market, is how well diesel-powered passenger cars, even those with cleaner burning engines or other amendments, e.g., biodiesel blends, particulate filters, and SCR exhaust aftertreatment systems, will do with stricter emission standards.
Although Europe is where the competition will be greatest, it is interesting to note the occurrence of greater number of diesel passenger car models available in North America. Green Car Congress recently noted that Audi in 2008 would launch Tier 2 Bin 5 TDI diesels in North America.