Modern diesel vehicles have undergone a major transformation in their emissions profiles in recent years. Diesel vehicles that meet current U.S. and European Union standards have dramatically lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter emissions than 20 years ago, earning them the name "clean diesels." A diesel vehicle typically gets 20% to 40% better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline gas. This factor has made diesel cars tremendously popular in Europe, where they have accounted for around 50% of light-duty vehicle (LDV) sales over the past several years. Due to Europe's very high fuel prices, the price premium of a diesel car can be paid off quickly. Other markets that have not traditionally strong diesel markets are beginning to open up now. North America, in particular, has been a weak market for diesel LDVs for 20 years and is now showing signs of growth. In 2011, the U.S. diesel market saw 27% growth over 2010, a higher rate than LDV growth overall.
With rising gas prices and stronger fuel economy regulations coming into effect, the United States should see rising demand for diesel cars and trucks. From 2012 to 2018, North America will experience a cumulative growth rate of 22%, reaching annual sales of just under 1 million LDVs. Diesel will still remain a niche vehicle, due to the lack of ubiquitous fuel availability and the higher price of diesel than gas, but Pike Research forecasts that they will capture a slightly higher percentage of new U.S. vehicles sales than hybrids. Globally, clean diesel LDVs will experience much lower growth, with Western Europe continuing to dominate global sales. The availability of clean diesel is almost entirely driven by emission regulations and many countries with strong diesel car markets do not yet have such regulations in place.
This Pike Research report analyzes the global market potential for clean diesel light duty vehicles, as well as the medium and heavy duty segments, from 2012 through 2018. The study assesses the demand drivers for diesel to gain market share over gasoline in key markets where clean diesel regulations are in place. Key industry players are profiled in depth and detailed market forecasts are provided for the clean diesel vehicle market, segmented by world regions and key countries, through 2018. The report also compares projected clean diesel adoption with forecasts of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles in key regions.