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Pike ranks Volkswagen Group as the global leader in clean diesel vehicles

Pike Pulse Grid for clean diesels. Click to enlarge.

The new Pike Pulse Report: Clean Diesel Vehicles from Pike Research ranks the Volkswagen Group as the leader in this market, due to the efforts of the Volkswagen and Audi brands. The company has long been a leader in selling diesel vehicles and is making a strong push for emerging clean diesel markets, Pike notes.

Pike’s Contenders category includes BMW; PSA Peugeot Citroën (PSA); General Motors (GM); Mazda; Mercedes; Mitsubishi; Ford; Honda; the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group; Fiat-Chrysler; and the automotive partnership of RenaultNissan. Pike’s third grouping consists of the Challengers; Toyota is relegated to this category. None of the 13 major OEMs evaluated for the report fall into the Followers category.

A “clean diesel vehicle” is defined as one that meets the limits for NOx or particulate matter (PM) emissions set by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier 2 standards or the EU’s Euro 5 standards. Each of these standards mandated a significant reduction from the previous emissions levels allowed.

Top 10 Vendors
1 Volkswagen Group
2 Mercedes
4 PSA Peugeot Citroën
5 General Motors
6 Renault-Nissan
7 Ford
8 Mazda
9 Fiat-Chrysler
10 Mitsubishi

Europe is the world’s biggest market for clean diesel cars, with around 7.3 million diesel passenger cars sold in 2011, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Diesel’s share in new passenger car sales in Western Europe has been increasing since 1997, Pike notes, surpassing 50% of sales in 2004. In 2011, the US diesel market began to show signs of revival, with 27% growth over 2010.

From 2012 to 2018, Pike Research expects that diesels will capture a slightly higher percentage of new vehicle sales compared to hybrids, though both will remain niche drivetrains.

Pike forecasts global growth in annual clean diesel light-duty vehicle sales from 9.1 million in 2012 to 12 million in 2018—a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 5%. Western Europe will continue to constitute the majority of clean diesel vehicle sales even while it experiences slower growth over this period, Pike suggests, and will account for around 75% of global sales.

For the report, Pike scored the companies on strategy (vision; go-to-market strategy; partners; production strategy; technology; and geographic reach) and execution (sales, marketing, and distribution; product performance; product quality and reliability; product portfolio; pricing; and staying power.)

The key OEMs in the diesel market are likely to continue to keep their strong position going forward. The question is: Will some of the newcomers to this sector be able to compete? The ones that seem best poised to do so as of today are Mazda and GM. In addition, some traditional diesel OEMs are beginning to explore new markets, especially the United States. Companies such as VW that are already strong in diesel technology are well-positioned to capture market share as the diesel market in the United States builds its demand for diesel. Other OEMs that are focusing on India, including Hyundai and Honda, may be able to capture a significant portion of this market if India adopts clean diesel regulations.

—“Pike Pulse Report: Clean Diesel Vehicles”



The upcoming 88mpg (UK) Golf Bluemotion is a testament to this, also the BMW 320D series.

Some markets in Europe are > 70% diesel.

It is a combination of technology (common rail diesel), CO2 focus and expensive fuel (approx $2 / litre of petrol, a bit less for diesel) that have caused this.
+ the resale value of diesels is better.

People will buy petrol cars < 1.4 litres, but most cars > 1.4 are diesels. You cannot give petrol SUVs away (in Ireland).


An observation on VW golfs:
The US website kicks off with a 2.5L petrol engine, then a 2L diesel.
The Irish one kicks off with a 1.2TSI petrol engine, then a 1.6 Diesel.
(the US ones are also way cheaper).


The problem is meeting Euro VI standards (starting Sept 2014) for smog causing NOx emissions.. kiss the simplicity, low maintenance and low cost nature of old style diesels away.

The cooled EGR system that many companies are starting to use will require constant maintenance, hopefully they are designed for it and not require too much $$$


Actually, I prefer to read a report before commenting but I will do so now anyway but skip all detailed comments.

A couple of years ago, I came to a somewhat different conclusion than Pike Research, i.e. that VW was not the global leader any more. I would still make the same assessment today. My assessment was simply based on technology criteria, not any other criterion (as in the Pike case). Today, definitely I rank BMW and Mercedes higher than VW, although one has to admit that cost is not as much an issue for these manufacturers as for VW. Eventually, it should be noted that VW does not even lead any more when it comes to specific power and torque (i.e. downsizing), as they used to do in the past. I also recognize that Mazda has contributed significantly in technology development during the last year but this must be something that has been overlooked by Pike. In the Toyota case, I must agree with Pike. The last couple of years must have been very lazy days for these development engineers! No surprise that Toyota strategy appears to be to outsource diesel engine development and manufacture in the future (BMW).

Cooled EGR was introduced already with Euro 4 (maybe it was used on some Euro 3 engines but I would have to check my records first before stating that) with very good maintenance record. Meeting Euro 6 for engines up to (at least) ~2 liter will not require any kind of NOx catalyst in future engines and this will be stretched to larger engines and cars in the future. This has already been showed by Mazda and Mercedes on production engines. One technology to enable this is the so-called “long-route” (or low-pressure) EGR. In this case, exhaust for EGR is taken after the particulate filter. Thus, the EGR cooler will not be exposed to particles; or hydrocarbons for that matter, as is the case for “conventional” EGR. This solution is simple, requires no maintenance and is inherently a low-cost solution. In contrast to a NOx catalyst (diesel or gasoline), this option is not prone to ageing (catalyst deterioration) or increased use of noble metals.

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