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Old 02-18-2008, 03:19 PM   #1
AuraXRFan
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Default Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

I love my Saturn Aura XR 3.6, but of interest, I am in the UK driving its sister, a Saab 9-3, with the 1.9L turbo diesel plus a 6 speed manual. Lots of torque and amazing mpg. On the highway I am getting 43.3 mpg(converted to US gallons) doing 70 mph-not taking it easy. It is not clear to me why GM won't bring some of the best features from its cars around the world to the U.S. It is definitely fast enough to keep up in traffic on the M, and I am spoiled by the 3.6L in my XR. (I think that a 6-speed manual would be fun in it.)
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Originally Posted by AuraXRFan View Post
I love my Saturn Aura XR 3.6, but of interest, I am in the UK driving its sister, a Saab 9-3, with the 1.9L turbo diesel plus a 6 speed manual. Lots of torque and amazing mpg. On the highway I am getting 43.3 mpg(converted to US gallons) doing 70 mph-not taking it easy. It is not clear to me why GM won't bring some of the best features from its cars around the world to the U.S. It is definitely fast enough to keep up in traffic on the M, and I am spoiled by the 3.6L in my XR. (I think that a 6-speed manual would be fun in it.)
Because that engine isn't certified for use here, it won't pass emissions testing. It's not that they won't, it's that they can't. Yet.

Why it's assumed that GM is purposefully refusing to sell cars and/or features from Europe in America simply as a 'nana-nana-boo-boo' tactic is beyond me. It's a business. If market research says it won't sell, why invest the millions - and in the case of certifying a new engine, literally millions - in bringing something over that won't sell in sufficient numbers to offset the cost. But, the key word is 'yet'. GM is working on making its diesels certified for sale here. It's not that they don't like you, it's that it isn't cost efficient to do so. All companies do the same thing, not just GM.
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Because that engine isn't certified for use here, it won't pass emissions testing. It's not that they won't, it's that they can't. Yet.

Why it's assumed that GM is purposefully refusing to sell cars and/or features from Europe in America simply as a 'nana-nana-boo-boo' tactic is beyond me. It's a business. If market research says it won't sell, why invest the millions - and in the case of certifying a new engine, literally millions - in bringing something over that won't sell in sufficient numbers to offset the cost. But, the key word is 'yet'. GM is working on making its diesels certified for sale here. It's not that they don't like you, it's that it isn't cost efficient to do so. All companies do the same thing, not just GM.
Thanks for saving me some typing. I was about to post the same thing.
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Thanks for saving me some typing. I was about to post the same thing.
One of us had to say it. And several more probably will.
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Originally Posted by saturn_69 View Post
Why it's assumed that GM is purposefully refusing to sell cars and/or features from Europe in America simply as a 'nana-nana-boo-boo' tactic is beyond me. It's a business. If market research says it won't sell, why invest the millions - and in the case of certifying a new engine, literally millions - in bringing something over that won't sell in sufficient numbers to offset the cost.
How many hundreds went into making the lovely Aztec and Rondepuke? Oh and lets not forget the hundreds of dollars they spent on the Relay and its many inerations... A few million spent bringing a TDI motor here that will sell doen't seem to be that much money considering the billions upon billions they lost last year while following their 'everyone needs a UTE business model'.

GM is missing the boat on the economy stuff. Someone made the business decision to not develop TDI technology for this country and it wasn't VW or Mercedes.
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:33 PM   #6
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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How many hundreds went into making the lovely Aztec and Rondepuke? Oh and lets not forget the hundreds of dollars they spent on the Relay and its many inerations... A few million spent bringing a TDI motor here that will sell doen't seem to be that much money considering the billions upon billions they lost last year while following their 'everyone needs a UTE business model'.

GM is missing the boat on the economy stuff. Someone made the business decision to not develop TDI technology for this country and it wasn't VW or Mercedes.
1) the Aztek and Rendezvous were SWB U-body vans = very little investment
2) Aztek/Rendezvous + Terraza/Uplander/Montana SV6/RELAY were 170,000+ yearly sales (~$4bil in revenue) which is about 150,000 more than a 50-state compliant diesel would sell

How many diesels are VW and MB selling exactly?
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Old 02-18-2008, 04:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Originally Posted by piney View Post
How many hundreds went into making the lovely Aztec and Rondepuke? Oh and lets not forget the hundreds of dollars they spent on the Relay and its many inerations... A few million spent bringing a TDI motor here that will sell doen't seem to be that much money considering the billions upon billions they lost last year while following their 'everyone needs a UTE business model'.

GM is missing the boat on the economy stuff. Someone made the business decision to not develop TDI technology for this country and it wasn't VW or Mercedes.
GM isn't missing the boat, they're just on the Lido deck getting a drink. Yes, they should bring over the diesels, and I imagine they will. Our diesel has been reformulated to match the low sulfur type that Europe uses, we're working on getting diesels cleaner.

VW doesn't sell any diesels now (and hasn't since '07) and won't until this summer, in the 2009 Jetta. Yep, GM is missing out on not selling any diesels right now. Mercedes? The $53K Bluetec "E320 Sedan does not meet the emissions requirements of California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Vermont and is not available in these states." Other Mercedes diesels includ the GL320 CDI SUV, ML320 CDI SUV, and R320 CDI SUV. So. Where are all these diesels again? Does GM warrant criticsm for not making diesel passenger cars? Sure they do, as does Ford and Chrysler. However, these supposed high sales from VW and Mercedes just aren't there. Of course, with diesel hitting $3.45 a gallon (an average of $0.60 per gallon higher than gasoline) here and the diesel 'up-grade' costing an easy $2500 over a gasoline model, I don't see diesels as much of an improvement, or worth the expense.
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:02 PM   #8
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Originally Posted by K-1 View Post
1) the Aztek and Rendezvous were SWB U-body vans = very little investment
2) Aztek/Rendezvous + Terraza/Uplander/Montana SV6/RELAY were 170,000+ yearly sales (~$4bil in revenue) which is about 150,000 more than a 50-state compliant diesel would sell

How many diesels are VW and MB selling exactly?
Can't find the exact numbers but they sell and run forever.

The TDI VW is wildly popular among high mileage drivers and commuters. It had emissions issues for 2007 but will be back out in a couple of months with a leaner burning. They regularly get 45mpg in real world driving, far surpassing the 60 cents a gallon cost that is imposed by the US government. See the forums: http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=204082 To offset the 2007 restrictions, they overproduced the 2006 models and then sold them to skirt the laws designed to keep the oil men rich and the drivers paying for gasoline.

You'd never know that GM made money on the Relay/Terraza/Uplander and so forth. I'd hate to think how much more money they'd have lost but for those wonderful vehicles.
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Old 02-18-2008, 10:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

North American diesel fuel needs to reduce it's sulfur content through refinement. Thus the additional cost, R&D to update these European diesels to meet emmission requirements here.

Updating the refineries will up the cost of diesel even further and wipe away the cost savings. Both initiatives are being worked on by the manufactures and petro producers. It's improving every day and should see things open up in the next year or two.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Can't find the exact numbers but they sell and run forever.

The TDI VW is wildly popular among high mileage drivers and commuters. It had emissions issues for 2007 but will be back out in a couple of months with a leaner burning. They regularly get 45mpg in real world driving, far surpassing the 60 cents a gallon cost that is imposed by the US government. See the forums: http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=204082 To offset the 2007 restrictions, they overproduced the 2006 models and then sold them to skirt the laws designed to keep the oil men rich and the drivers paying for gasoline.
Keep dancing around the issue. You can't just say "they sell" without posting the sales numbers. VW does about 20k units total in a good month, with the Jetta making up 1/3 to 1/2 of that. I'd say a 20% take rate for the diesel is being very generous. So, that's what, 16,000-24,000 diesels/yr? Sorry, but that doesn't warrant the title of a sales success, nor does it show that customers are flocking to diesels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piney
You'd never know that GM made money on the Relay/Terraza/Uplander and so forth. I'd hate to think how much more money they'd have lost but for those wonderful vehicles.
They'd lose a straight $.5bil/yr by not having a vehicle for the 3,000+ Doraville employees to build. Luckily, with the plant closing and most of the employees bought out, that expense is nearly off the books.
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Keep dancing around the issue. You can't just say "they sell" without posting the sales numbers.
Run the numbers on the used prices of a 3 year old Jetta TDI with 50k miles on it vs. a 3 year old gas one and see difference. Supply and demand wins here and, while they cost more to get, they are worth a lot more on the resale - thus decreasing the cost of ownership. Run what a three year old ION is worth and then calculate that cost of ownership.

I googled all over looking for the actual domestic sales volume but couldn't find them. The freaking search engines all come back to car pricing sites when one enters the terms for sales volume. I'm certain that someone here on the site as access to them. Any sales are better than the no sales that GM has in the diesel market although they did sell a lot of those 1980 Cadillac diesels...
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:16 AM   #12
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Keep dancing around the issue. You can't just say "they sell" without posting the sales numbers. VW does about 20k units total in a good month, with the Jetta making up 1/3 to 1/2 of that. I'd say a 20% take rate for the diesel is being very generous. So, that's what, 16,000-24,000 diesels/yr? Sorry, but that doesn't warrant the title of a sales success, nor does it show that customers are flocking to diesels.

Prior to VW being restricted on number of diesels sold they made up about 40% of Jetta sales. Every year 2002 and later they were only allowed to sell a certain percent of thier cars with diesel because they weren't clean enough. The VW diesel has never been advertised in the US and still they sold in 40% of Jettas, and this was back prior to 2001 before gas priced skyrocketed. The plans I have read is for 60% of the Jetta wagons VW is bringing over in 2009 will be TDIs. Jetta Sedan should have similar numbers of diesels. Fuel efficiency will sell, it has sold well even without advertising. How would it sell if they advertised it? How easy would it be for GMs advertising to sell "The new Saturn Aura TDI, Better Highway Fuel Economy than the Toyota Prius" Lets see, a base XE is slightly under 20k, if diesel was a cost adder of $2500 I could buy an Aura for 22k that gets better fuel economy than a Prius? All that combined with not having a battery and being terriblly boring to drive? Plus being roomier? If people will pay the $2k+ for the 3.6L in the Malibu what makes GM think people wouldn't pay $2k+ for an engine that has similar torque but doubles the fuel economy?
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:20 AM   #13
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Run the numbers on the used prices of a 3 year old Jetta TDI with 50k miles on it vs. a 3 year old gas one and see difference. Supply and demand wins here and, while they cost more to get, they are worth a lot more on the resale - thus decreasing the cost of ownership. Run what a three year old ION is worth and then calculate that cost of ownership.

I googled all over looking for the actual domestic sales volume but couldn't find them. The freaking search engines all come back to car pricing sites when one enters the terms for sales volume. I'm certain that someone here on the site as access to them. Any sales are better than the no sales that GM has in the diesel market although they did sell a lot of those 1980 Cadillac diesels...
Spin, spin, spin. Used car pricing is not indicative of VW's current or recent diesel offerings. GM has no sales in the diesel market? Have you heard of the Duramax?
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:30 AM   #14
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Prior to VW being restricted on number of diesels sold they made up about 40% of Jetta sales. Every year 2002 and later they were only allowed to sell a certain percent of thier cars with diesel because they weren't clean enough.
Bull. There are hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered big-rigs on the roads, but VW was forced to only sell 40k diesel Jettas. You're going to need a source to back that up.
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Old 02-19-2008, 10:43 AM   #15
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Spin, spin, spin. Used car pricing is not indicative of VW's current or recent diesel offerings.
So the limited supply and high demand for the same product doesn't help the market justification? It certainly helps the value of them, which in turn helps the sales. Oh, the vicious cycle. The market demands a reasonably priced diesel.

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GM has no sales in the diesel market? Have you heard of the Duramax?
When they put the Duramax in a passenger car and sell it in the USA, bring that up so we can discuss it. GM has the technology to sell diesels here, they just don't and that is what the issue is.
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:18 AM   #16
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Bull. There are hundreds of thousands of diesel-powered big-rigs on the roads, but VW was forced to only sell 40k diesel Jettas. You're going to need a source to back that up.
http://www.dieselnet.com/standards/us/ld_t2.php

I hadn't looked at numbers in a while. It wasn't until 2004 that VW was restricted in the number of diesels it could sell said the wrong date above. In 2004 Tier 2 emissions started being phased in. The VW diesels only meet Tier 2 Bin 9, which was a temporary Bin that was phased out over the next years. In 2004 only 25% of VWs total vehicles sold had to meet Tier 2 emissions. In 2005 50% had to. In 2006 75% had to. So in 2006 VW had to sell 3 gas vehicles for every diesel it sold. Thats one of the reasons they stopped making the diesel passat in 06, while the Golf and Beetle were available as diesels in 2006 they were very scarce.

In addition CARB states didn't allow Tier 2 Bin 9 at all, so from 2004 on diesels were effectivly banned from California, New York, and several other states.

About heavy trucks being sold with diesels, they fall under different emissions rules than cars and light trucks. That is why you only see the Duramax in HD3/4s and bigger.
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:20 AM   #17
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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So the limited supply and high demand for the same product doesn't help the market justification? It certainly helps the value of them, which in turn helps the sales. Oh, the vicious cycle. The market demands a reasonably priced diesel.
Show me proof of the limited supply. That's all I ask.

Quote:
Originally Posted by piney
When they put the Duramax in a passenger car and sell it in the USA, bring that up so we can discuss it. GM has the technology to sell diesels here, they just don't and that is what the issue is.
Heh, the 660lb-ft would rip the wheels right off... . Patience, patience, there's a 2.9L V6 diesel right around the corner, should the American consumer actually adopt the diesel.

BTW, where's Toyota's diesel? They supposedly have some fantastic Hino diesels available to them. You'd think if this vast market really exists, the most profitable of automakers would be at the forefront.
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:26 AM   #18
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Show me proof of the limited supply. That's all I ask.
About limited supply. Before I bought my Aura, I went to a VW dealer to ask if they had or could locate any used diesels. They told me no way. They said the last used diesel they had was a 2006 Jetta with 40k miles on it. It sold for $25,000. That car new sold for $25,500. This was November of 2007. I also contacted a dealer I knew in Franklin WI that specialised in diesel sales. They looked for over a month to find me a 1-2 year old diesel. Never found me one for a price I would pay.
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:42 AM   #19
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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Show me proof of the limited supply. That's all I ask.
The very high resale is a function of the high demand and limited supply. Same reason, but with inverse results, that a 3 year old Malibu is worth about a third of what it cost new.
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:48 AM   #20
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Default Re: Driving Saab 9-3 1.9 TDI with 6-speed manual

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The very high resale is a function of the high demand and limited supply. Same reason, but with inverse results, that a 3 year old Malibu is worth about a third of what it cost new.
Yeah, and some '60s Chevys go for $100k on the auction block. Neither reflect the demand on new car sales, which is the actual topic here.
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