Diesel cars have been a major part of the BMW lineup since they were introduced in the 1980s as a response to the oil crisis of the late 1970s. The design celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, which makes BMW’s decision to stop producing diesel cars in the United States all the more surprising.
Why is the German car giant ditching it’s diesel engines, and what will be appearing in its place?
Dropping Sales and Emissions Concerns
The demand for diesel cars has been declining in recent years, even in Europe, where they’ve been so popular until now. European diesel sales are expected to drop to 5 percent of new car sales by 2030, and in the United States, diesel sales have suffered in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal of 2017.
Volkswagen was found guilty of modifying their diesel car’s emissions systems so that they would appear to pass emissions tests, but it was actually generating more CO2 and other emissions than was legal. It resulted in a massive recall, and only 222 Volkswagen diesel vehicles were sold in January of that year. The year before, January sales were nearly 4500.
The Rise of the Plug-In Hybrid
2018 will mark the end of BMW’s diesel line in the United States. That means some models, like the 540d xDrive, will only be available in the States for a single year.
This doesn’t mean the BMW model line will be shrinking dramatically, though — in spite of the rather abrupt announcement, the manufacturer has also announced it will be releasing several plug-in hybrids to replace the diesel models being removed from the lineup.
These may end up being a better idea for BMW in the long run, especially in North America, where eco-minded drivers are giving up their gas-guzzling cars in favor of hybrid or electric alternatives.
BMW isn’t the only manufacturer jumping on the green energy bandwagon. GM is planning on eventually phasing out all of its gasoline-powered vehicles sometime in the future, but will be introducing at least 20 totally electric models by 2023. Ford is planning on launching 13 new electric or hybrid models in the same timeline. Volvo is planning on rolling out electric cars for its entire line as early as next year.
Replacing its diesel models with plug-in hybrids might be one of the smartest things BMW has done in a long time.
Industry experts haven’t released any information yet about the exact specs of the new hybrids, though they probably won’t be ready to roll out for the 2019 model year. For drivers who have their hearts set on owning a new diesel BMW, only a few are left on the showroom floors, but they won’t be there for long.
New hybrids might be changing the face of the BMW lineup, but they definitely won’t be sacrificing their luxurious designs in favor of better gas mileage. New information will hopefully be available at the end of this year or the beginning of 2019.