Where are the Japanese diesels?

I asked this question a few weeks ago but never saw an answer. In fact, I can’t even find my original post. So I’ll try again. I have a Japanese mechanic who works almost exclusively on Japanese cars. He’s told me about the fantastic diesels made in Japan. The reason they’re not available in the US he said is because the automakers are betting on hybrids in the US market. He also thought some protectionism might be involved because these cars were “too good” for the competition. He said that you can’t import a new Japanese diesel car, but you can import one that’s 25 or more years old. What’s the story here?

The story is that the demand isn’t high enough to offset the huge costs to meet the USA emission standards. Mazda will be bringing in some in the near future. You can also get a Cruze diesel. But it’s not because they’re “too good”.

According to the rumor mill, Subaru will begin making a diesel engine available for the next generation of Outbacks, due in the fall of 2014. This engine has already been available in Europe (and, I assume, in Asia) for at least 3 years.

@texases is right about the “too good” part. I would add that the US emission standards for diesels is much more strict than Japan or Europe. Diesel exhaust can be cleaned up but the equipment is expensive and many use a urea injection system (see AdBlue) to reduce NOx. Some people were really surprised that they had to add this stuff at an oil change. It costs about $20 for 10 liters (roughly 2.5 gallons) but dealers (M-B, BMW in particular) charge a few hundred dollars to top this stuff up.

BTW off road diesels are required to do this, too. It makes a forklift diesel nearly double in cost. You can swap a lot of LP motors for that cost.

Back in the 1980s, a friend of mine owned a Mazda that had a Perkins diesel engine. The Perkins engine was made in England, but Mazda did buy the engines for an option in some of its cars.
One side note on diesel engines–one cab company in my city had a 1959 Plymouth that was equipped with a Perkins diesel engine. The rest of the cabs in its fleet were Chevrolets with a regular 6 cylinder gasoline engine.

All auto manufacturers will offer diesels in some vehicles to meet the new CAFE standards. This will be in addition to hybrids, electrics, and improved gasoline engines.

Between the Diesel Emissions Fluid requirement and the PRICE of diesel fuel, consumers are very shy about diesels…There are just too many negative vibes…

Right now, gasoline is the cash cow of fuels here in the US. We are awash in the US in gasoline. So much so, we export it. Gasoline is easier to keep emmisions down. When the subsidies given in Europe to promote diesel are slowly withdrawn, even they will use more gasoline cars. Gas motors are getting so much more efficient, it 's not worth making more expensive motors to burn a more valuable fuel. Gasoline is a byproduct, diesel fuel is a premium energy source. Not that it won’t happen, but Toyota is vested in hybrids which is a more natural link to electric cars then diesels which are too dang expensive to make available on a mass scale. Subaru is so into Awd which is more difficult short term to cheaply make into a hybrid, they need to do the diesel thing to compete. Manufacturers continually poll owners and find there is still a small market for diesels…regardless of how goo goo we seem to be on this forum toward them.

Doesn’t GM already have one called the Duramax by Isuzu? I know you said cars,but Japanese diesels are all around-Kevin(besides as the others pointed out,follow the money-if the Domos would make money with them,dont you think they wouldn’t already have them?)

Gee double the cost on a forklift.

The new emissions standards seem to be nothing but trouble for those using them…you’d think the time is soon coming (if it isn’t here already) where there will be a viable business buying up tired semi tractors and totally refurbishing, vs buying new, with all the soot cans, pee injection, and the like.

MJ 75,better hurry there may be a cash for clunkers on trucks(some of these old junkers are terrible nasty,especially when people have tampered with the injection pump and puff limiters) we all have to breathe the same air,so I have to say I’m glad to have emission standards and believe it or not the new ones are running well now.Some of the companies will undoubtably obselete the old parts so they can sell new trucks-Kevin


I’m talking about a reasonable compromise. I believe in the environment, but I also believe in the law of diminishing returns. Seems to me, our air is the cleanest it’s ever been…yet still the standards ratchet ever tighter. This tells me pragmatism has left the building W/R/T EPA standards.

You have a point-but the problem is volume and even around here I can tell the air is cleaner then the 60s and 70s,but you are right there comes a point when the cost benefit is ridiculous.With so many more vehicles being born every year we have to watch our Ps&Qs- Kevin

We still have a lot of dangerous air days on the east coast even with the new standards.

Diesel regs are tight because of the particulates and NOX. Particulates are bad for health, so the tight regs are worth it, IMHO.

Everything is run through a cost benefit analysis and in agreement with most, diesels are a tough sell for the car companies who are committed to gas and must invest in diesel options that pass admission standards here. The savings in fuel is getting less and less. The gas Accord now gets over 40 mpg highway without the potential drivability problems, emission standards and higher costs to deal with. So this Accord which costs about $25k would now cost well over $30k for how many additional mpg’s ? 5 or 6 ? The hybrid Accords could do the same thing and are closer to zero emmissions then diesel will ever be while the gasoline maintenance program primed as a money maker could be adhered to with little change.

Besides, I personally am against using that more valuable fuel for more meaningless excursions by texting teens when cheaper gas driven Corollas do nearly as well. Car companies love complicated hybrids and EVs are the natural extension long term for cars. Diesels are just an unnecessary side step for most cars except upper level over weight cars, trucks and 4 wd ( making Subaru a prime candidate for them ). EV and hybrid power have a tougher time dealing with these segments economically. Watch; as gas powered cars start getting closer to diesel mileage figures, they along with hybrids will start eliminating this sales advantage in cars in Europe !

I will be shocked if the diesel Cruze is a big seller here in the US when for the same or less money you can drive a much more refined Accord with not a heck of a lot fewer mpgs and run on cheaper fuel most places. Those are the comparisons that will doom the diesel in the average buggy.

I’ve asked this before and don’t ever remember getting a satifactory answear,what harm does the NOX emissions do? Just curious-Kevin

I think the NOx contributes to smog formation.

@Texas,thank you -Kevin

I also read where the NOx combines with water vapor and other chemicals to form nitric acid, which then deposits itself on particulates (like diesel soot) and goes into the lungs, damaging the lungs.