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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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Short sighted comments and lack of vision...
By chunkymonster on 3/11/2011 10:12:39 AM , Rating: 3
These comments are coming from a representative for a company that has sold over 1 million diesel cars in Europe giving them records sales in 2008 and 2009. These comments are coming from a representative for a company that has vowed to never sell the EU diesel Fiesta rated at 60+mpg. There is so much demand for 1.4 & 1.6 diesel engines that Ford has increased production of these engines form their Dageham, Essex facility. Hey Kuzak and Ford, rather than defending the losing position that Americans do not want diesel cars how about selling and marketing a car that gets 60+mpg and just happens to be diesel.

quote:
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.
This quote is a perfect example of car manufacturers determining what the American car buyer does and does not want; you'd think Ford would have learned from GM dropping the Hummer line for a reason. If American car buyers willingly buy diesel cars, then Ford is not forcing anything. So, rather than selling American made diesel cars to American car buyers and offering the American car buyer more power-train options, Ford is practically giving those sales away to other car manufacturers.

Audi, VW, Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes, to name a few car manufacturers, recognize the market for diesel and diesel/hybrids and are all planning on delivering more diesel powered cars to America. They must all be wrong...and Ford in their arrogance must be right.

And to the diesel deniers always stating that diesel cars are smelly, dirty, worse for the environment, and not as fast or efficient as ICE's; get a clue and quit repeating anti-diesel mantras that have been proven to be outdated and incorrect.

Proud owner of a 2005 Jetta TDI with over 180K miles and still getting 40+mpg and over 500 miles per tank. Even with diesel costing more than regular gas, it still costs less to fill my Jetta than it does my wifes Camry and the Jetta gets 12+mpg more and has 120 miles more range.

Kuzak's comments + lack of vision + corporate greed = FAIL!




By GotDiesel on 3/11/2011 1:21:36 PM , Rating: 2
wow.. only 40+ ??
my 2001 jetta tdi gets average of 50mpg and 700 miles on a tank.. oh, and 220K miles.. !!


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