BMW will begin selling diesel-powered vehicles in the US in 2007. Its first entrant likely will be an SUV.

"It's not a question of when to introduce it, but how to go forward in the United States," Burkhard Gšschel, BMW's board member responsible for development and purchasing, told Automotive News Europe.

"We can meet 2007 emission standards. Diesel should have a place in the American market. High torque and low fuel consumption make it the most useful engine for an SUV."

Gšschel told of BMW's plans last week at the SAE World Congress.

BMW offers diesel engines in all but two of its models sold in Europe.

Nearly half of all BMWs sold in Europe are powered by diesels.

In the US, federal clean air regulations being phased in over the next four model years require low-sulphur diesel fuel and low-emission engines.

Last year, BMW sold 69,829 X3 and X5 SUVs in the US.