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Ricardo Predicts Rapid Expansion in US Light-Duty Diesel Market

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Automotive technology consultant, researcher and provider Ricardo has released its 2005 Ricardo Diesel Report.

This year’s edition predicts a significant rise in US light-duty diesel market penetration over the coming decade. Sales in the light-duty vehicle segment (up to 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight) are projected to grow from a mere 43,000 units last year to more than 1 million units annually by 2012, rising to 1.5 million by 2015.

Those projections are approximately in agreement with the projections released by J.D. Power earlier in the week for a diesel sales share of 7.5% in 2012.

While diesel already enjoys a market penetration of over 56% in the US premium light truck sector (between 3/4 and 1 capacity) cost remains a major issue for passenger cars, light trucks and SUVs.

Ricardo, as a technology developer,  and others are working on cost-effective ways to reduce engine-out emissions as well as in the development of more effective aftertreatment devices. Ricardo predicts that a rapid increase in diesel sales will follow as such devices become both readily available and affordable to the consumer from 2009 onwards.

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Elsewhere, the global growth of light-duty diesel sales continues, with 2004 posting the largest volume increase for a decade. The sales ratio of diesel to gasoline vehicles for the larger manufacturers continues to grow, led by Volkswagen which now reports more than 60% of its European car sales as diesels.

In Western Europe, diesel car sales in 2004 continued to flourish in all of the major national markets, with overall penetration reaching a record level of over 48% and with no immediate sign of a slow down. In the context of a marginally strengthening passenger car market in Western Europe compared with that of 2003, a 5.4% decrease in gasoline sales was more than offset by an 11.9% increase in diesel sales.

Among its many worldwide projects, Ricardo is working with Ford and Valeo on a hybrid diesel delivery van in the UK (earlier post); performed simulation and analysis on hydraulic hybrid systems (earlier post);, is working with Citroën on another diesel-hybrid (earlier post); and is developing a new, more fuel-efficient gasoline engine concept (earlier post).

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