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VW suprised by U.S diesel take rate

by Drew Johnson

VW\'s diesels are selling at a faster rate than expected.

A top Volkswagen executive has revealed that the Germany automaker has been surprised by the take rate for its diesel engine technology in the United States. Although popular in Europe, diesels have not historically been strong sellers in the U.S. market.

Diesel-powered passenger cars still make up just a fraction of the United States market, but through the first 10 months of the year the gasoline alternative has accounted for 22 percent of VW's overall sales. VW is by far the industry leader in terms of diesel sales, accounting for 72 percent of the overall market.

In particular, Jonathan Browning, VW manufacturing boss for the American market, says the company was pleasantly surprised by the interest in the company's Passat TDI clean diesel.

"Our going-in assumption, because we were going to have to conquest a lot of customers from competitors, was that those customers would be very wedded to petrol powertrains,” Browning told Autocar. "We thought the step to convert them to the Volkswagen brand was going to be a fairly substantial step in itself, and then it would be an even bigger step to convert to diesel.”

"Our original forecast was for 17 per cent of Passat sales to be diesels, but in fact it is running closer to 30 per cent.”

Thanks to that kind of interest, we can expect even more diesel-powered vehicles to surface in U.S. Showrooms in the coming years.

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