Although trailerists have long embraced diesels for their fuel economy
and high torque, the general public has not been so forthcoming. Now,
according to a JD Power survey, nearly one-third of new-vehicle buyers
indicate they have some level of purchase consideration for a vehicle
with a clean diesel engine. This is about the same number that indicate
they have heard of clean diesel technology.
JD Power and Associates’ Consumer Diesel Overview Study found
that, of the more than 5,200 survey respondents, 12 percent say they are
“very likely” and 19 percent indicate they are “somewhat likely” to
purchase a new vehicle with a clean diesel engine. Despite these
numbers, only 5 percent of respondents say they are “very familiar” with
clean diesel technology.
“Consumers are already aware of traditional diesel engines, and
many have developed a rather negative image of them,” said Thad Malesh,
director of the alternative power technology practice at JD Power and
Associates. “Manufacturers have to combat the negative attitudes toward
diesel engines and inform consumers that clean diesel is cleaner,
quieter and more environmentally friendly than the diesels that are on
the road today.”
While 34 percent of consumers see a benefit of better fuel
economy, the same percentage of respondents don’t know of any benefit
for diesels, and 59 percent would not consider purchasing a vehicle with
a traditional diesel engine, which they associate with pollution, odor,
noise and performance issues.
One of the key reasons consumers give for considering clean diesel
technology is that they expect these engines to have cleaner emissions,
along with better fuel economy, power, durability and dependability. Of
the 46 percent of respondents who are unlikely to consider this
technology, the primary reasons given for lack of intent are the need
for more information and concern about the availability of diesel fuel,
as well as some of the traditional concerns about diesel engines,
including noise and pollution.