Via Autoblog, here’s a great article about the emergence of Diesel in the United States. The guy being interviewed is Al Bedwell, a senior manager with JD Power in England. Having been through the emergence of clean diesel in the UK over the last 5 years or so, he’s in a decent position to comment on the challenges facing US carmakers in getting Diesel accepted in the US.
How hard will it be to overcome the negative image of diesel in U.S. car buyers’ minds?
Americans’ consciousness for diesel cars hasn’t yet been pierced. There’s still a big marketing job to be done. But we think we’ve been a bit conservative in our forecast. A changing image and infrastructure for diesel could accelerate the trend.
When do you think diesel car sales will really take off in the U.S.? What will be the breakthrough year?
It’s still a bit premature, because the federal law that requires the oil companies to switch to clean diesel fuel at the filling stations only takes effect in September. We think diesel car sales will really take off in 2008.
Hear that, Saab USA? e85’s fine, but you’ve gotta get those diesels in next year, ready for takeoff in 2008.
My hint: some smart company will sign up Shaquille O’Neal – The Big Diesel – to promote their diesels. Probably an SUV company as he wouldn’t fit in a smaller car.
In other diesel news, Willie Nelson was busy pumping hands and pumping his own brand of fuel, the atrociously named BioWillie, in San Diego. It’s an 80/20 mix of regular diesel and Bio-D.
Biodiesel is the country’s fastest growing alternative fuel, according to the US Department of Energy. US sales of biodiesel trebled last year to 284 million litres, but account for less than 1 per cent of the diesel fuel sold nationwide. More than 600 service stations in the US sell biodiesel to the public.
Ted’s been busy writing posts for the blog in comments!! Worthwhile entries too…..here’s one. Another will get it’s own separate post later.
SaabUSA’s website has received a bouquet from Keynote Systems Inc, in a study it’s conducted regarding online customer service:
Cadillac, Lexus and Saab topped the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings, which measured site success across the more than 250 metrics, including vehicle search, comparison, customization and quote/pricing functions. The brands examined for the study were Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes Benz, Saab and Volvo…..
“Saab had the greatest increase in brand perception after buyers visited its site, the study said. The number of prospective customers who had a positive perception of Saab increased by 32% after exposure to the site.”
The SaabUSA site is looking really good at the moment, which leaves you wondering why some of the other Saab sites around the world look a little stale.
Saab Australia are setting the bar pretty high at the Melbourne International Motor Show this week. Visitors to the Saab stand can relax in a lounge, hosted by Saab Oz and Belle Magazine. Not only can you get your hands on the new 9-5, you can also get someone else’s hands on you!!
Joining the dramatically styled new vehicles on a brand new Saab Motor Show stand, is the equally stylish belle magazine Chillout Lounge. The two design icons have combined forces to offer a relaxing and rejuvenating experience for design lovers and weary show-goers.
The centre piece of the belle Chillout Lounge is the unmissable Living Edge furniture in a lavish aromatic environment created by fabulous hand creams and candles from New York’s Tocca.
People attending the Show can take time out in the lounge, regroup with current editions of belle and Saab magazines, find out more about the 9-5 and SportCombi and enjoy a restorative hand massage.
Ah, yes. Cars and massage. Could this be heaven?