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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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RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By YashBudini on 3/11/2011 12:46:54 AM , Rating: 2
Americans have shown they are willing to pay for VW's TDI in astonishing numbers (Take rates of 25%+). One reason is that VW didn't go all out after fuel economy.

I recall not so long ago driving past a truck stop that posted diesel @ $5.009

So much for memory.

they sell less hybrids than V6 models

You wonder if that comes from past experience with shaky 4 bangers and if the buyers even bothered to test drive the 4 cyl. A friend switched back from a 6 to a 4 after a pleasant test drive. Of course the salesperson won't sway you and they may believe the hybrid is a tough sell. The base price difference of the I4 and the hybrid is $8520. You can get a sport version for what the hybrid costs.

Too bad Ford doesn't offer the sport version with the smaller six. Those that want the sport model have no engine choices at all.

RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 2:00:15 PM , Rating: 2
I recall not so long ago driving past a truck stop that posted diesel @ $5.009

Why do people persist in wanting to talk about small scale evidence when we already know what the country has on average?

On Highway Diesel is arund the same price as Premium Gasoline.

In Feburary, Take Rates for TDI version of VW products was still greater than 25%+

You can get a sport version for what the hybrid costs.

No... not really. Sure for an initial purchase price. But after 150,000 miles, the Hybrid will be 15,000 dollars cheaper. The Hybrid is the Lowest TCO engine choice the Fusion has... if you equip the I4 anywhere near the Hybrid levels.

The Fusion Hybrid is the best "value" in the Fusion line-up. For it to be selling so much less than the V6 model must be very discouraging for Ford.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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