Audi clean-diesel SUV

Germany's largest automakers are renewing their pitch for their clean-diesel vehicles in the US as a way for consumers to combat high gas prices without having to resort to the (often) even pricier hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.

Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen, along with auto-component supplier Bosch, have joined together in a campaign titled: "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." The project, developed with the German Association of the Automobile Industry (VDA), includes the website Clearly Better Diesel, which outlines the advantages of diesel powertrains in light-duty vehicles, and will be fully unveiled at Detroit's North American International Auto Show next month.

While clean-diesel sales have more than doubled in the US since 2009, they still account for less than three percent of new-car sales in the US. In Western Europe, more than half of the new cars sold are oil burners. In the US, through November of this year, Volkswagen's clean-diesel sales have jumped 32 percent from 2011 to 82,981 units, while Audi's diesel sales are actually down slightly to 6,555 vehicles. Last month, Audi said it will add a clean-diesel option to its A6, A7, A8 sedans as well as its Q5 crossover. Those models are getting a 3.0-liter V6 turbocharged diesel that will deliver 240 horsepower. The A8 diesel will start sales in the US next spring, while the others will debut by the end of 2013. The VDA's press release is available below.
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German Automotive Companies Start Clean-diesel Offensive in USA

BERLIN, December 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Economical, clean, and powerful - joint website for diesels

Six German automotive companies - the passenger car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen, and the supplier Bosch - are starting their first ever joint information campaign for "clean diesels" in the USA. Under the slogan "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." from today onwards they will publicise the advantages of modern diesel passenger car technology over gasoline engines in terms of cleanliness, consumption and performance. The "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." campaign, which has been developed jointly by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and VDA member companies, comprises a website (http://www.clearlybetterdiesel.org) and flanking offline activities on the US market by the companies involved. Their common goal is to create a multi-brand information platform for clean diesels among the US population and to make the clear advantages of this technology better known using first-hand information. Even today, the market share of diesels among all newly registered light vehicles in the USA is in fact still quite low (2.6 per cent) compared with a diesel share of 55 per cent in Western Europe.

Yet sales of diesel passenger cars by German manufacturers - who take 100 per cent of the market in diesel cars in the USA - have more than doubled over the last three years. In the first nine months of the current year around 69,600 diesel cars were sold in the USA, whereas in 2009 there figure was only 30,600. This represents a rise of 127 per cent.

Diesel vehicles have also shown strong gains among total light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks). Up to September 2012, 284,400 light vehicles with diesel engines were sold, compared with only 160,000 units in the year 2009, which is an increase of 78 per cent. The German manufacturers pushed up their market share of the diesel light vehicle segment from 25 to 37 per cent. Their sales multiplied by two and a half (from 40,000 units to over 104,000).

Using brief examples from everyday motoring in the USA, the website explains facts - simply and comprehensibly - about the dynamics of the diesel drive train and its advantages in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, low noise emissions and refuelling costs and also clears up with a deal of humour outdated concerns regarding diesel cars. This is done using small, playful online animations informing users of computers and mobile devices about clean diesels and their efficiency. For example, website users can not only calculate in a split second the consumption advantage of a diesel vehicle, but can also hear how quiet a modern clean diesel drive train is these days compared with a passenger car from the 1990s.

In addition, the participating companies present current models of cars that deserve to bear the "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." logo. These clean diesel vehicles comply with the very strict environmental standards in all 50 US states. On average, their fuel efficiency is 18 per cent higher than corresponding models with gasoline engines. The campaign participants are aiming to put over the clean diesel alternative to interested US citizens in as much detail as possible, so the website also provides background information on the latest research and development, and on the overall environmental framework in the USA. Furthermore, it is linked to US initiatives that are active on the topic of clean diesels in the States.

The joint campaign's "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." logo, which was designed and realised by the New York agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal and Partners (kbsp), therefore indicates at a glance where current information about the most advanced automotive diesel technology in the USA can be found. And also about which innovative passenger car models bring this whole spectrum of economy, performance and fun onto the roads right across the USA.

The companies participating in the campaign, which other manufacturers and suppliers may join, will apply the campaign logo as a seal of quality on the US market in advertisements, on banners, in TV spots, product brochures and their showrooms. The campaign will be making its mark at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), which will take place in Detroit, Michigan, in January 2013.

The "Clean Diesel. Clearly Better." website is available under the following link:

http://www.clearlybetterdiesel.org