Diesels are Still Going Strong

May 2020 Column Colin Peterson


This article originally appeared in the Winter 2020 issue.

We do have a lot of electric vehicles making a move now, but it is quite probable (and it seems quite obvious) that the diesel engine won’t get outsold anytime soon in any industry. A Global Diesel Engine study completed by the MarketResearch.com-owned Fredonia Group finds that the motor vehicle market will remain the largest market for diesel engines by 2023, accounting for almost two-thirds of all diesel engine demand in that year. The study offers a wide-ranging view of the global market for diesel engines, including data analysis of historical demand trends and forecasts for 2023 by product, market, and global region, as well as major national market. Further, the study provides in-depth profiles of industry leaders, including market share by company and relevant merger and acquisition activity. By “motor vehicles,” the study refers to strictly road vehicles (cars, crossovers and SUVs, pickups, commercial trucks, and buses) and does not count marine or railroad applications, which follow a different set of emission regulations. However, there is a twist within this demand the study highlights, as the prospective results for light trucks actually appear less promising than the potential results for medium and heavy vehicles. Of course, those commercial vehicles heavily rely on the necessary power diesels produce that other forms of power cannot match in order to get their heavy work done.

An Ongoing Matter

However, the main reason for the less promising prospective results for light trucks might not be of any news to you. As you know, our industry has been under fire in recent years because of the lingering vibes of prior emission controversies, and the study suggests those vibes will have negative effects on the demand for diesels. If you read our March 2017 issue, you may remember Diesel Tech’s Trevor Mason wrote his column on the Volkswagen scandal and the crackdown on deleted vehicles. As he explained, “deleted” means the vehicle has either the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), diesel particulate filter (DPF), or both removed from it. Of course, people like to remove them as they allow the truck to perform more efficiently, though at the expense of the environment.

Not to Worry

Trevor also mentioned the grim outlook for the EcoDiesel RAMs as a result of what the media called “Dieselgate.” When he wrote his column, though, we still had a large number of light-duty diesels hitting the road. Also, as of this writing for the winter months of 2020, I believe it’s safe to say we’re in a similar spot. The half-ton diesels have proven to be excellent sellers. I mean, open your eyes! We now have an F150 diesel and the half-ton Chevys and GMCs have a diesel option now too! It shouldn’t be surprising if that’s because they’ve been attractive to the new audience of diesel lovers who want something not too large but something that still sounds cool, looks monstrous, and has outstanding pulling ability. Taking into account when Trevor’s column was written with where the industry sits now and the improvements in engine design, the more likely scenario is our trucks are still going to maintain their popularity for at least several more years to come. Also, several of the major aftermarket manufacturers are becoming smarter about not letting certain performance parts fall into the wrong hands (or the wrong geographical area, such as California), which gets truck owners and the manufacturers themselves into trouble.

Enough from Me, Enjoy the Issue

As always, we continue to have plenty of cool mind-blowing project trucks with their many performance-boosting parts to entertain you. Keep this Fredonia study in mind, but don’t let it discourage you; keep on living that diesel performance life as you love it! Whew! Now that we got this out of the way, go on and enjoy the many truck builds and amazing new products this issue has to showcase, including all the great stuff we saw at SEMA in November!

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