A sizable chunk of Audi's lineup is available with diesel engines nestled underhood, but not in North America. Here, the only two vehicles available with such an engine are the compact A3 hatchback and the large Q7 SUV -- but this may soon change. North American executives within the automaker confirm the company is moving to offer diesel engines in most, if not all, of its volume model lines.
In a recent interview with Automotive News, Johan de Nysschen, president of Audi of America, indicated the company was looking to roll out diesel out diesel engines "across the Audi line." According to the executive, the automaker will offer diesel -- or TDI, as it and parent Volkswagen calls it -- versions of virtually every model in its lineup, save for its TT and R8 sports car, by 2015. de Nysschen specifically mentioned diesel versions of the A6 and A8 sedans, Q5 crossover, and the next-generation A4 are all currently in the pipeline.
Given Americans' tempestuous relationship with diesel engines, the move could be seen as bold, but two factors helped -- if not forced-- Audi to take the diesel plunge in North America. Certainly, the strict 2016 CAFE regulations are forcing the company to re-evaluate its engine portfolio, but interestingly, dealers are asking Audi's product planners for more diesel options. According to Automotive News, roughly half of all A3 sales are for TDI models, while a whopping 40 percent of all Q7s sold are equipped with a turbo-diesel engine.
According to de Nysschen, diesels could account for at least 20 percent of Audi's total U.S. sales by 2015, roughly four times as many vehicles than they represent today.
"We have been planning conservatively," de Nysschen told AN, "and are talking about considerable growth."
Few details have been revealed thus far on any of the diesel models, but don't look for the next A4 TDI to carry more than four cylinders underhood. Although the company's six-cylinder diesel could be used in the car, the sheer cost of adding the engine would conflict with the A4's high-volume nature.
Would you welcome a diesel-powered A4, Q5, or A8 into your household? Is diesel the right path to Audi's North American future, or should the company continue to explore other avenues as well? Send us your wishes, hopes, and dreams via the comments section below.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)