This might come as a surprise, but the diesel-passenger-vehicle market wasn’t killed by the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal. Not quite, anyway.
The scandal, coupled with heavy spending in electric technology and tightening emissions policies on a global scale, has possibly put diesel on a slow road to oblivion.
But buyers still have more than a dozen models from which to choose, with a couple more in the pipeline.
Volkswagen’s diesel models once accounted for one-third of the total passenger-vehicle diesel market in Canada. However, “Volkswagen Canada has no plans to re-introduce diesel engines in any of our cars and SUVs,” said public relations manager Thomas Tetzlaff in an email to Automotive News Canada.
“Internationally, these engines are still on sale in various markets and will remain available for the foreseeable future.”
VW is developing battery electric vehicles based on its modular electric toolkit architecture, expected to come to market in 2020, Tetzlaff said, adding that the company continues to refine its gasoline-fueled engines.
It wasn’t that the scandal ruined the public’s perception of diesel vehicles, but rather that other automakers became collateral damage in the wake of stricter government oversight.
Mercedes-Benz withdrew its BlueTEC diesel offerings from the Canadian and U.S. markets in 2017, citing lengthy delays getting new models certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board.
There were also reports the use of certain biodiesel fuel blends in the U.S. market, potentially damaging to BlueTEC engines, was a factor. The company would not confirm this, but a Mercedes-Benz U.S. technical bulletin warns against using any fuels containing more than five per cent biodiesel.
Mercedes-Benz Canada President Brian Fulton said that while BlueTEC models were popular among customers, sales have not suffered from their absence. No decision has been made about bringing them back.
So who does that leave? Natural Resources Canada’s fuel-economy database lists 15 passenger diesels (plus six pickups) across five automotive brands: Chevrolet, GMC, BMW, Jaguar and Land Rover.
Mazda Canada plans to launch a diesel version of the CX-5 utility this fall, as a 2019 model. The model was planned to debut here in 2017 but remains caught up in the certification process.
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