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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 bah12 on 3/11/2011 10:49:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'm for return on my investment. So no the EV equation rarely pays off either.

And FYI I actually like diesel, and think that the pros outweigh the cons, but just because a few of us think that way does not a market make :)

RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Dr of crap on 3/11/2011 12:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
There also is no market for EVs, yet they are pushing them on us.
The sales numbers for the Leaf and the Volt so far tell a different story - they're not selling.

So What kind of car should they be marketing for the masses??

I'd go with CNG - we have a lot of it in our own country and it could be had for half the cost of gas.

RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By bah12 on 3/11/2011 1:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
Man what is with all the anti-EV trolling? No one here is claiming that the EV solution is correct either. What the tread is about (regardless of you constantly trying to derail it) is whether ford should go after this market. The OP's contention was that it was stupid for not doing so, mine was that Ford is pretty smart in its non-US diesel position.

As to your question, they should be making the cars that they are currently making. Ford is doing quite well, and have a good bead on the market. If the Apple's/Fords/MS's of the world have taught us anything it is that being the first to push something is meaningless, the true successes wait to see where the market is going and THEN capitalize on it.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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