Under the direction of the Association of German Automobile Manufacturers, the companies are planning a diesel offensive in the United States, where diesel motors are in about two percent of cars. In Europe, nearly 50 percent of automobiles are diesel vehicles, the paper said.
German car-makers told the newspaper they are convinced that this time they can get Americans to switch to diesel, despite numerous failed attempts in the past. They believe their chances are good at because of the ever increasing high price of petrol, improvements in diesel motors and a concerted effort by the association and manufacturers to target the US market.
The switchover campaign is set to begin this week with the opening of the Detroit Motor Show. But the automakers are aware that they have an uphill battle. Diesel is associated with stinky smells and dust in many parts of the United States.
Matthias Wissmann, president of the German manufacturers' group, said German automakers realize that diesel technology is not exactly widespread in the US, but added “we've improved our image.” He told the Süddeutsche that German carmakers are bringing their top models to the US.
Nevertheless the automakers admitted it won't be easy. Tough competition will come from hybrids, many of which are from Japan. Hybrids account for about four percent of the US market.