Saab USA have indicated that they won’t be bringing a diesel model to the US market, despite the introduction of low-sulfur fuel regulations there later this year.
Volkswagen’s example might make that decision look a little silly in the next few years.
Autoblog reported yesterday that diesel’s accounted for 22% of Volkswagen’s US sales in the first four months of 2006. Now, some of those customers might have bought gasoline powered Volksies anyway, but I’m betting that a large portion of those customers owned a different brand and were quite fuel-price conscious when they made their decision.
As Autoblog says, expect VW and DCX to have a big marketing blitz later in the year to capitalise on their established presence in the market.
I can’t help but think that this has been a big-time missed opportunity for Saab USA, a very important market for Saab. Yes, the Biopower concept is progressive (which is important for the corporate image), but the numbers won’t lie and the number that will connect with most people is the MPG number.