2009 BMW 335dEnlarge Photo
Despite IRS tax credits and superior gas mileage figures, BMW is reportedly having a tough time selling its new diesels, the 2009 BMW 335d sports sedan and the 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d (yes, that's really its name).
We've thought from the beginning that Volkswagen would be the big winner in selling new clean diesels to US buyers, and that BMW and Audi would face uphill sledding.
Now, BMW has put new incentives on its diesels to coincide with the start of the Cash for Clunkers plan, known officially as the Car Allowance Rebate Systems (CARS) program.
Through August 31, says BMW, it will give buyers--any buyers, not just clunker tradeins--a "$4,500 Eco Credit" toward purchase of either diesel vehicle. And, it points out, those buyers also get a tax credit of $900 for the 335d and $1,800 for the X5 diesel.
These aren't cheap cars, mind you. The 2009 BMW 335d starts at roughly $45,000 and the 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d stickers at more than $52,000. Still, an immediate discount of $5,000-plus on either car is nothing to sneeze at.
If you happen to want a diesel BMW, that is. Both vehicles are powered by a 265-horsepower, 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. We liked it in the 335d sedan; we didn't like it in the X5--but your experience may vary.
VW, too, is touting its diesels as clunker replacements. Its 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI is a guaranteed way to get the maximum $4,500 cash-for-clunkers benefit, since it achieves far more than the required 10-miles-per-gallon increase over an 18-mpg tradein.
As VW's Mark Barnes pointed out to WardsAuto.com, "Add that to the $1,300 diesel tax credit, you’re talking about $6,000 off on the (Jetta) TDI." Of course, in this case you actually have to have a clunker to trade in.
The song remains the same, though: If you want a clean diesel car, whether a compact 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI sedan or a massive, imposing 2009 BMW X5 xDrive35d sport-utility vehicle, you can get good deals right now.
2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDIEnlarge Photo