STUTTGART -- Robert Bosch GmbH's automotive chief says it will take longer than expected for diesel to catch on in North America.
Bernd Bohr, chairman of Bosch's automotive technology business sector and a member of the board of management, had said that 20 percent of North American light vehicles would be fueled by diesel by 2012. But he wants two more years to achieve that target.
Bohr blames slow consumer acceptance for the revised timetable.
But even the 2014 goal may be ambitious. British engineering consulting firm Ricardo plc puts diesel penetration in North America at 1 percent.
"Obviously, there are a lot of unknowns which go into this - one being the oil price," Bohr said. "And it's always difficult to put a forecast on customer sentiment."
North American consumers may not be ready for diesels, he said. But if oil prices continue to rise - and, therefore, the price of gasoline - diesel use will increase.
"We're seeing an ever-increasing interest with the American OEMs, with at least two of the Big 3 investing quite heavily into development of mid-sized diesel engines," Bohr said.
He declined to name the two automakers.
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