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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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By Aloonatic on 3/12/2011 4:36:40 AM , Rating: 2
Diesel cost more than petrol in the UK, yet people are still being tempted into buying a diesel car, especially smaller cars where you can really get some great MPG figures.

As they are more popular there is more competition here, as I showed above, which has affected the price difference between petrol and diesel equivalents. That doesn't exist in the US yet, but I might as fuel prices rise.

They used to be a niche in the UK, hardly anyone drove them when I was a kid, now many people do. That not just because of fuel economy though. They are just a lot better than they used to be in the 80s. A lot quieter and better to drive. However, in recent years, as fuel prices have gotten really high, fuel efficiency has really become a big factor in the purchase decision.

Maybe it's because of the areas that Ford operates in, they don't see much value in diesels? Over here, SUVs and smaller cars are where many people see a real gain in diesel market, and ford don't even seem to be bothered to offer many diesel option that even in the UK, so maybe it's no real surprise tat they really can't be bothered in the US?

Maybe they just see diesel as a short term solution? And want to focus on more long term solutions with electric cars powered in what ever way they decide.

I'm sure that VW etc will be happy that Ford are ignoring this sector.

Anyway, all I was ever saying as that the person who I replayed to seem to assume that the price of diesel cars will remain higher than petrol cars forever. That may not be the case.

I'm not sure if you're being intentionally obtuse, or just ignoring much of what I have said for the fun of it. Either way, I can't be bothered to carry on. :o)

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