The number of light and medium-duty diesel passenger vehicles registered in the US grew 56% from 2000 through 2004, from 301,741 to 468,990. That represents an increase in marketshare of 1.14 percentage points, from 2.25% in 2000 to 3.37% in 2004, according to research done by Polk Automotive for the Diesel Technology Forum.
With 92.5% of the registrations in 2004, medium-duty trucks represent the largest component of the diesel passenger vehicle market in the US. This category includes vehicles such as the Silverado, Sierra, Ram and F-series. With a limited market selection, light-duty diesel vehicles (such as the Mercedes-Benz and VW) represented only 7.2% (33,541).
By comparison, more than 84,100 hybrids sold in the US in 2004.
When given a choice between diesel and gasoline versions of the same model, 47% of medium-duty buyers opted for diesel. Only 12% of light-duty buyers made the same choice.
Diesel is clearly gaining momentum, and with its inherent advantage in lower fuel consumption proving increasingly attractive as buyers begin to factor in the price of fuel. But the light-duty, passenger car segment of the market still has a long way to go in terms of buyer education and demand.