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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 marvdmartian on 3/11/2011 8:58:59 AM , Rating: 1
However, in the snow belt states, how many cars actually last 10 years or more? Many people are still in the 5 year trade-in cycle, due to the cancerous rust problems they have in those states.

I do agree with the idea of using more diesels in passenger cars, but understand that a lot of the problem is that many people still equate diesel engines with large passenger trucks, big rigs, buses, and really crappy cars from the 80's that sounded like buses. Until the car manufacturers can kill off that idealism, they're going to have a fight getting people to accept anything but gasoline powered engines.

By Dr of crap on 3/11/2011 9:15:03 AM , Rating: 1
You must not be in the "snow belt" states. I am.
We have a lot of cars 10 years and older here. I have two.
And I drive all my cars until it takes to much to keep them going. The cars do not rust out as they did in the 70's. My 13 year old is just now showing signs on the outside of rust. That's right if you wash your car a few times each wimter it will last long.

And your second point is also used by the car makers and those against diesel cars in the US. WE to not equate diesel with dirty, poor running cars. That keeps getting shoved in our faces so that the masses will repeat it. That in turn makes the car buyer want to stay away from diesels. That problem has been fixed. And all we here is how the cars in Europe are so much better on diesel.

I'd guess you'd sell more diesel cars than EVs or hybrids.

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