The rebound in automotive sales of 31 percent in Q3 2020 is led by growth in pickup trucks and SUVs, categories with the most advanced, fuel-efficient diesel options for consumers, according to the Diesel Technology Forum, a not for profit educational association.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to have far reaching impacts on every aspect of life and the economy, U.S. auto sales saw a 31 percent rebound in the third quarter of 2020 adding almost 1 million more vehicles sold from the previous three months,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. Check out the Q3 sales data on the Vehicle Sales Dashboard.
“Sales of pickups and larger SUVs, are leading this rebound, having nearly recovered to the level one year ago while sales of sedans and smaller cars are still at historic lows, according to data provided by Alan Baum and Associates.
“These trends aren’t new, but ones that have been occurring for nearly a decade as Americans’ vehicle needs have shifted toward sport utility vehicles in addition to the long-standing top-position of full-size pickup trucks. What is new is the growing number of more fuel-efficient offerings where for car and truck buyers than ever before, ranging from battery-electric, plug-in hybrid, full hybrid and even hydrogen fuel cell options.
“In the vehicle segments more Americans prefer, more diesel options are a win-win. When it comes to the vehicle types more American buyers prefer, diesel is a fuel-efficient choice that delivers no compromises in fuel efficiency, vehicle utility or performance. With readily available fuel at more than two-thirds of all stations, highway ratings of as much as 33 mpg along with driving ranges that can exceed 500 miles on a single tank, there will be no range anxiety for diesel vehicle owners.
“The new generation of diesel engine options are the quietest most powerful and fuel efficient we have ever seen, with near zero emissions as well, making them good choices for both the pocketbook and the planet. There are 16 diesel options available in full mid, full-size and heavy-duty pickup trucks. This year for the first time, there are three diesel engine options in full-size pickup trucks from leading manufacturers General Motors (Silverado 1500), Ram Trucks (1500 EcoDiesel), and Ford (F-150) as well as the exciting new addition of the Jeep Gladiator. This is in addition to heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 series for all manufacturers including long-time diesel engine offerings, and the Cummins diesel in the Ram heavy-duty trucks.
“Beyond the new lineup of diesel options in full size pickup trucks, there is great potential thanks to some new options in full-size SUVs arriving in the 2021 model year. These include new diesel engine options in the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL as well as the Cadillac Escalade, and the Jeep Wrangler making a total of 16 choices in the SUV segment. In addition to SUVs, there are a dozen full-size vans offering a diesel option as well and three cars. A full listing of currently available and coming soon options is available at the Forum’s website https://www.dieselforum.org/diesel-drivers/clean-diesel-vehicles-available-in-the-u-s.
“When compared to comparably equipped gasoline models, these diesel engine options in pickups and larger SUVs can save quite a bit of fuel, particularly for those putting on higher annual miles and if regularly using the vehicles for towing,” noted Schaeffer. Consider that if every full-size pickup sold in the U.S. was equipped with an advanced diesel engine, the U.S. could save roughly 500 million gallons of fuel per year, equivalent to 15 percent of the entire car market switching to a battery-electric option, helping to contribute to climate and energy policy goals according to research commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum.
“While predicting the future is nearly impossible, if fuel prices remain stable, economic recovery continues, we would expect that sales of pickups and larger SUVs with diesel engine options are likely to increase as consumers seek more fuel efficiency, power and performance for the long haul of vehicle ownership,” said Schaeffer.
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