VW preps reworked diesel engine for '15

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Volkswagen, the biggest seller of diesel cars in America, said Tuesday it will have the newest iteration of its TDI engine ready for U.S. sales at the start of the 2015 model year, marking a continued effort to popularize diesel with Americans.

The 2-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine, code-named EA288, has the same displacement and cylinder count as the outgoing version, which went into about 22 percent of the cars that VW sold in the United States in 2013.

The new engine gets 150 hp, up 10 hp from the outgoing version, and produces 236 pounds-feet of torque. It will also be more efficient, VW says, though the company has not released estimates for city and highway fuel economy under the EPA test cycle.

VW announced today that several of its nameplates, including the Beetle, Golf, Jetta and Passat, will get the new engine at the start of the 2015 model year. The first cars will arrive in dealerships around September.

The new engine is aimed at helping VW of America hit ambitious sales goals in the United States. Sales at the company fell 7 percent to 407,704 in 2013 after doubling from 2009 to 2012. It was a disappointing setback for a U.S. sales operation that has been asked to sell 800,000 units by 2018.

VW has started launching TDI “value editions” of select models to better position diesel as a money-saving option on par with hybrids. It started in the 2014 model year with the Jetta compact sedan, and a VW spokesman says the company plans to offer a value-based TDI package in another model for 2015.

“There will be another value story,” the spokesman said.

The value Jetta starts at $22,115, including shipping, with a TDI engine and a manual transmission -- a $2,300 price cut that has bolstered its position as the least expensive diesel car on the U.S. market. That puts it squarely between the base Toyota Prius C ($19,890, including shipping) and the base Toyota Prius ($25,010, including shipping).

You can reach Gabe Nelson at gnelson@crain.com.


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