Thursday, July 10, 2008

2009 Volkswagon TDI Diesel coming to North America

Volkswagen's long-awaited new family of diesel engines has finally hit the road to the United States.

The powerful and fuel-efficient engines, which account for 63% of VW sales in Europe, have been absent from the automaker's U.S. lineup for more than a year.

Diesel buyers are among VW's most eager and enthusiastic owners in the United States, but they had to do without 2008 models because the automaker was caught flat-footed without engines that met U.S. emissions standards that took effect Jan. 1, 2007.

VW will rectify that by offering the engines, which have used less fuel than gasoline-electric hybrids in some driving tests, in two 2009 model year vehicles. Both models will wear VW's TDI badge, which stands for turbocharged direct injection, two of the technologies that make modern diesels cleaner and more powerful. The Jetta Sportwagen and sedan are already in showrooms. The Jetta scored 29 m.p.g. city/40 highway in EPA tests, up from 21 city/29 highway for the 2.5-liter gasoline engine.

VW will also add a V6 diesel version of its Touareg SUV in 2009. It may add diesel versions of other models later.

The Volkswagen group's Audi luxury brand will offer its first U.S. diesel, with a 3.0-liter 221-horsepower V6 for sale in the Q7 SUV in March. Audi is expected to add diesels to other models in the United States, including the all-new A4 sport sedan that goes on sale later this year.

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