BMW is one of the only automakers addressing the conflicting demands of the American automobile market. Americans in general love big carsâ€”the bigger the better. This has always been a fact of the US market, despite the occasional blip of tolerance for small cars. On the other hand, Americans donâ€™t want to pay a lot to move those big cars down the road. BMW has had the insight to realize that Americans only tolerate tiny cars until the price of gas goes down. Therefore, they are working on how to bring the two demands together in a sensible way: By producing fuel-efficient, but large, vehicles.
The BMW X5 Sport Activity Vehicleâ€™s diesel-vs.-gasoline ratings are a perfect example of how changing the engine can make a huge difference in fuel efficiency. The gasoline-powered version is rated at a mere 15MPG in the city. Yet with a diesel engine, those numbers spike to an impressive 30MPG city rating. This has allowed big-car lovers to keep driving nice, comfortable cars, without taking a big hit in the wallet when it comes time to fill them up.
BMWâ€™s moves toward large, but relatively fuel-efficient, diesel-powered vehicles put the company in a great position as Americans seek to keep driving real cars which can be affordably fueled. Hopefully they will support their diesels with the full force of their marketing so these types of vehicles will become a serious market force. Along with spurring competition, and therefore even more innovation, the strong presence of big diesel automobiles would finally put to rest the silly notion that cars have to be impossibly tiny in order to be respectably fuel-efficient.
Historically, various automakersâ€™ attempts to sell diesels have often fallen short. This was due to the drawbacks of old-fashioned diesel technology, which used to result in stinky, hard-to-start automobiles. The technology has improved greatly in the last few years, though, eliminating the once-characteristic â€œcity busâ€ smell, as well as making driving a diesel basically the same as driving any other car. Combined with the fact that high-end automakers like BMW are now offering new diesel versions of proven model types, this should move diesel cars, SUVs, and other vehicles into the mainstream.
BMW currently plans for diesel sales to grow to only 10% of its overall sales, but with such gains in fuel efficiency and overall improvements in diesel technology, it is likely they will end up selling many more of these US-market-friendly machines.