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Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development
Diesels just aren't the answer for Americans says Kuzak

While fully electric cars sound great in theory with their instant torque, near silent operation, and lack of fossil fuel emissions, many people are still apprehensive about "range anxiety" when the batteries start running low. Thankfully, we have a number of options on the table when it comes "green" vehicles.

Some manufacturers like to rely on hybrid technology to achieve crazy EPA numbers (Toyota Prius is EPA rated at 50 mpg combined). Others choose to put hyper-optimized traditional gasoline engines in their vehicles (the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Elantra, and Chevrolet Cruze can achieve 40 mpg+ on the highway depending on trim level).

Another option is to use diesel engines. However, according to Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development, diesel engines will be relegated to its heavy duty trucks and won't be filtering down into its more consumer-friendly passenger vehicles.

Kuzak brags that Ford "could easily bring diesels to the U. S. market" since it already offers a number of diesel powertrain options around the globe in its vehicles. “It doesn’t make sense. We are not going to force it on customers,” he added.

Kuzak went on to tell Automotive News that there are a number of factors going against bringing diesel engines to mainstream cars including: 

  • Diesel engines are more expensive than their gasoline counterparts
  • Americans in general are apprehensive to diesel-powered cars
  • Diesel fuel remains more expensive than gasoline
  • The payback from the initial purchase price of a diesel vehicle versus the cost savings from increased fuel efficiency can take ten years

Interestingly, points one and four could easily be leveled against hybrid vehicles, yet Ford has an impressive hybrid in its stable already with the Fusion Hybrid (41 mpg city, 36 mpg highway).

According to Kuzak, Ford will continue to use advanced powertrains like EcoBoost (turbocharging + direct injection) and direct injection alone to achieve "near diesel" EPA ratings in its vehicles.

Despite Ford's reluctance to use diesel engines, archrival General Motors is reportedly eyeing a diesel engine for its U.S. market Cruze compact sedan. Likewise, Audi -- although it is a higher tier brand than Ford -- is looking to bring its diesel engines to three more nameplates within the next 24 months.

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We are not going to force it on customers
By lennylim on 3/10/2011 5:39:01 PM , Rating: 3
Funny he should say that. Instead of offering customers a choice, he is forcing it on customers - to go gasoline only.

That's fine with me. Ford is never one of the top 5 in my list whenever I'm looking for a car to buy. I was just thinking of getting a turbodiesel VW for my next car few weeks ago.

By wyrmslair on 3/10/2011 5:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
Ding, Ding, Ding! Winner!

At least on the "not forcing" part. I'm a blue oval guy but this dope needs to be put out to pasture. The gas eco's are great engines but there is more to be done. If the new Focus get's almost 40mpg with a 2.0 gas, it should be able to get 40 to 50 with a 1.6 to 2.0 diesel that's properly setup.

RE: We are not going to force it on customers
By drycrust3 on 3/10/2011 9:09:37 PM , Rating: 2
The real problem for Ford isn't that he is restricting customers choice, but that he is restricting Ford's future. He should be investigating various avenues, such as hybrid, full electric, diesel, ethanol, etc, because he doesn't know what the future holds and which technologies they will need.
If the price of petrol suddenly doubles where is Ford? Nowhere. But if they have a range of options that have been developed and ready to go, e.g. cars that can run on 100% ethanol, diesel, or fully electric cars, then they aren't left looking like a possum in the headlights of a truck.

By Dr of crap on 3/11/2011 10:02:04 AM , Rating: 2
Bravo, couldn't have said it better.

Put some other cars out there for sale.
See what sells best.
They may be surprised what will make them money.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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