What’s the future of diesel vehicles? According to GreenCarReports.com, a backlog of diesel cars waiting to be tested by federal regulators is responsible for the slow-down of certain models reaching the U.S. market. That includes several models from BMW and possibly other manufacturers, too. The backlog is only making things worse for diesel-powered cars and SUVS, which aren’t exactly selling like hotcakes these days.
“The product certification of all MY2017 BMW diesel models (328d Sedan, 328d Sports Wagon, X3 xDrive28d, X5 xDrive35d) has been delayed due to testing logistics,” a spokesman for BMW said in a statement. “As a result, production of these models will commence once homologation has been finalized.”
What the numbers say
Looking at the early 2016 numbers released by the auto data firm Wards Auto, diesel car sales have all but stopped. Compare the data to the same period in 2015 and you might suspect the worst for 2017. Only 222 diesel cars were sold in the U.S. in January 2016, versus 4,500 in January 2015. Possible explanations for the decline include lower gas prices and a nosedive in public opinion.
As of last week, BMW confirmed that it won’t start producing new diesel models until federal testers finish reviewing the backlogged models. Once the cars get certified, it could be months before they get on the market.
Despite GreenCarReports.com’s repeated requests, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency did not comment on the testing delays.
What about that VW scandal?
Something else that’s not boding well for diesel vehicles is the VW diesel cheating scandal. Earlier this month, VW announced that many of its diesel models won’t be returning to the U.S. market. It’s not just VW, either. Mercedes-Benz officials confirmed earlier this year that the manufacturer’s entry-level GLS-Class SUV was undergoing additional EPA testing. That model hasn’t arrived on the U.S. market. It also has vanished from the manufacturer’s online shopping tools.
But some Americans still love their diesel:
I need a diesel truck in my life.. ???
— emily (@emily_wagner15) July 27, 2016
Let’s see if they’ll come out and show their support with their buying power in 2017.