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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 sprockkets on 3/13/2011 10:40:07 PM , Rating: 2
And a Golf has always bin a safe bed when it came to having a car that always works.

You lost all credibility when you said that.

RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Calin on 3/14/2011 3:42:37 AM , Rating: 2
The German built Golf has indeed been a safe bet when wanting a car that always works. My father in law has an Golf 1 with automatic transmission, and I don't remember him doing anything but praising the reliability of that old car. I have an 18-years old Passat, and it too has been very reliable.
American built cars might be different

RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/14/2011 3:22:31 PM , Rating: 2
You lost all credibility when you said that.

No... you have exposed you lack of global knowledge.

The poster was obviously European.

In Europe, the VW Golf is one of the most popular and widely selling cars.

In fact, the VW Golf model sells around 400,000-500,000 units a year in Europe, a large chunk of the ~900,000 units yearly VW moves based on the Golf Platform.

Outside the US, VW seems to be able to deliver large numbers of fairly reliable automobiles. Worldwide sales for the VW Group are ~7-8 million (The Golf platform is highest selling) making VW one of the largest Automakers in the World.

On top of this, The Golf is often ranked very high in European surveys for consumer quality. (Europeans have significantly more brands and models to choose from... due in no small part to the larger population and national interests in keeping some brands alive)

This is what puzzles many VW fans in the United States. How cars when made for Germany/EU turn out to be more reliable that cars made for US/NA...

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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