German carmakers are leading the way in terms of diesel offerings on the U.S. market, but competitors are trying to catch up. Mazda will soon offer a diesel on the Mazda6 sedan, and Kia is also considering introducing diesel engines to America.
Offering diesel engines would allow the Korean carmaker to enter new segments, just as it did with the recently launched K900 full-size luxury sedan (pictured) and with the Soul EV scheduled to launch later this year. However, Kia doesn’t see the launch of a diesel model happening less than three or four years from now.
“The problem right now is that there are different emissions standards in Europe and the US, which means we would be faced with different after-treatments, and that makes it very expensive,” Orth Hedrick, the vice-president of product planning for Kia Motors America, was quoted as saying by Just Auto.
“But with EU6 in 2017-18 there would be the same standards in both Europe and the US, and that gives us a better chance,” he added. Still, Hendrick said no decision has been taken, but the company is encouraged by German manufacturers’ diesel sales results.
Since the US market has overtaken Korea as Kia’s top-selling region and is the most profitable sales area, the automaker is open to entering new segments. Kia sold more than 500,000 cars in the US in 2013, including 100,000 Sorento SUVs and 100,000 Optima sedans, both of which are produced locally.
In the first six months of this year, Kia sold 297,500 vehicles in the US, its best-ever half-year in the US.
By Dan Mihalascu