Put yourself in context. Detroit, late 70's oil crisis It hits extremely hard to Detroit, whose profit margins were cemented into huge saloons and family with gigantic gasoline V8 under the hood. When oil prices tripled, people began to value low fuel consumption of a car as a buying factor important. Detroit became nervous, and in 1978 released their solution to the problem. A diesel engine that almost buries forever the diesel in the US
On paper, the idea was excellentThe idea behind the Oldmobile Diesel was to offer an American alternative saving the huge V8 petrol.
Oldsmobile was the company in charge of the first to market and family sedans with diesel engines. Until then, the presence of diesel in the US was limited to heavy commercial vehicles, ships and locomotives. The launch of a diesel engine in a passenger car was a radical approach. On paper, all were advantages: they were able to offer engines fuel consumption compact car in the same luxurious and spacious package ever. USA He would not give up her big sedans.
On paper, a gigantic Oldsmobile Delta 88 diesel engine was capable of consuming less 8 liters per 100 km highway, against the consumption of more than 12 liters per 100 km V8 gasoline equivalent. Detroit believed to have found the magic formula that would allow them to keep selling cars always as if there were no tomorrow. Oldsmobile diesel engine that launched in 1978 - then the brand's volume of General Motors, believe it or not - was called LF9, and was 5.7 atmospheric V8.Oldsmobile even reached 4.3 V6 manufacturing a diesel based LF9 5.7 liters. An engine equally problematic.
A giant V8 which was developed from the 5.7 V8 petrol - called Oldsmobile Rocket 350 - common to most vehicles. Oldsmobile was one of the most profitable brands of GM, and had plenty of work autonomy. The problem is that its engineers were not experts in the development of diesel engines. Although used a reinforced block based on the block gasoline, they employed the same hardware. Serious design failure in an engine compression ratio was much higher.
At first, everyone was happy
Oldsmobile launched its V8 diesel engine 5.7 in 1978, lower than a six-cylinder performance access time: just developing 125 hp and 300 Nm of torque, insufficient to move moles two tons. They were so poor that in fact the ads announcing acceleration from 0 to 50 mph (instead of the usual 0-60 mph) and literature focused on consumption. Although their performance was really anemic, their actual consumption were as low as advertised.Consumer confidence in the Oldsmobile diesel and General Motors was blind in the late 70s.
A very strong marketing campaign nationwide He is trying to convince all doubters that diesel engines were the salvation of the American sedan. Families do not want to give up a sedan "of lifelong". If they could have a reasonable consumption, avoid getting into a Japanese car, then reviled for its size and origin. And these vehicles acquired mass: in 1978, the nearly one million cars manufactured by Oldsmobile, only 33,841 were equipped with diesel engines.
In 1980, only 126,885 Oldsmobile diesel vehicles already sold. Other brands of the group joined the profitable fever diesel - engine sold more expensive than its gasoline counterpart. Even the top-end Cadillac offered it as an option. Even the most luxurious Cadillac were saved from their terrible performance - 1981 Cadillac Seville Diesel took 21.0 seconds to reach 60 mph (96 km / h) - but all were amazed by their excellent consumption, comparable to those announced.
Then came the problemsGM acknowledged that its engines were problematic, and came to repair at no cost to consumers.
The problem was that the engine hardware was identical to the gasoline engine. this caused butt failures, requiring premature rebuilding the motor. Mechanical - used to petrol engines - not used to replace hardware. The second engine failure used to be definitive. Another endemic problems was the engine absence of a water trap the diesel may contain. A piece which is for made in any conventional diesel, but seemed to Oldsmobile dispensable.
In a time when diesel quality was not good, the absence of separator accelerated engine wear. The result of this was poor planning engineering thousands of engines with serious damage, two or three years have been acquired, even earlier. The problems were solved in the last Model Year - the engine was sold until 1985 - but his reputation was completely swamped. Second-hand prices of diesel engine GM stood at ridiculously low levels.Americans took 30 years to restore confidence in diesel engines. And then came the Dieselgate.
Those engines could be replaced by 350 Rocket Fuel, which were at least more reliable but conmfortable averages almost 16 l / 100 km. Oldsmobile's reputation was completely destroyed, and reportedly causing the disappearance of the brand, whose sales were languishing hopelessly until 2002, when General Motors shut off his life support. It was also a blow to consumer confidence in diesel engines when they began to give a chance to generalist level.
Sales of diesel cars were testimonials from 80 onwards and US emission regulations did the rest. In the late 90s Volkswagen TDI sold some way testimonial, before Clean Diesel major offensive in 2009. An offensive with 2.0 TDI engines convicting in performance and consumption. An offense to which several European premium brands responded, including General Motors launched last year, a turbodiesel version of its best-selling Cruze.
And then came the scandal emissions of TDI engines from Volkswagen Group. A scandal that could bury forever diesel in the US, when he began to clean his reputation.