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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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I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By zebalow on 3/10/2011 5:19:07 PM , Rating: 1
And in 2, 3 years from now he'll loose his job if he wont change his view.




RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By bah12 on 3/10/2011 5:52:22 PM , Rating: 5
Don't bet on it, after all it is under him and others that have propelled Ford forward where others have not. Look at the TDI vs the SE (not the SEL since it has much more expensive standard items like nav that the tdi does not).

SE
Price 18500
MPG 31
Todays Fuel $3.15
Miles per year 15000
Gallons used 483.87
Yearly Fuel $1,524.19

TDI
Price 23000
MPG 42
Todays Fuel $3.40
Miles per year 15000
Gallons Used 357.14
Yearly Fuel Cost $1,214.29

So in one year you save $309.91 and would pay back the higher cost in 14.5 years.

So no you are the one mistake if you think that makes sense. Now the deseil will last much longer and eventually pay for itself, but that would mean keeping the car a long time. Which is exactly his point, the US market simply does not exist for that strategy. We just do not keep our cars that long. Like he suggest it would take a massive consumer shift for that equation to be desirable.

And into it the cost of urea additive to most 2010+ model diesels and it is an even larger losing proposition.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By yxalitis on 3/10/2011 5:58:11 PM , Rating: 4
I haven't driven these two cars to compare them, BUT the BMW 320d, and 320i are similar in terms of price difference, but the driving experience is where the benefit lies.
Diesel generates more torque, and gives a much better take off and early acceleration, which for around town driving, is where you want it.
The 320d is also more powerful, much more fuel efficient, and delivers power in a narrower band, so it's linked to a superior 6 speed automatic gear box.
It is an absolute joy to drive.
So, maybe Ford just needs to learn to build decent diesels cars....!


By zodiacfml on 3/11/2011 8:08:21 AM , Rating: 2
i agree.
the torque available offers a more relaxed driving which is only available in a higher displacement gasoline engine.

Ford has been doing good with their engines, turbo and direct injection. I say, learn diesel now than doing catch-up in the future.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By bah12 on 3/11/2011 9:19:40 AM , Rating: 3
Don't get me wrong I agree with the "other" factors, but unless the US consumer market shifts their desire toward these benefits, it does not make financial sense to invest heavily in what is for all intents and purposes a niche market.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By michael67 on 3/11/2011 9:43:12 AM , Rating: 2
I bin driving petrol and diesel, and have to agree diesel drives great, and the backwards thinking that petrol is better then diesel is also antique.

I had and hated Volkswagen's golfs, but there engines are great specially there TDIs, as cant even break them if you try.
And a Golf has always bin a safe bed when it came to having a car that always works.
And the diesels have better track-record then petrol.

and the prizes differents you mentions is not really correct

1.2 TSI BlueMotion Technology 77 kW/105 pk 7-DSG € 18.640,-
1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology 77 kW/105 pk 7-DSG € 20.950,-
MPG Town / Highway / Combined
petrol 36,1 / 51,1 / 44,3 $1066.59/y (combined calculated)
diesel 45,2 / 67,2 / 57,3 $890.05/y

With a small diesel the differences are the same, but if i had to pick i would still pick the diesel as its a mouths better car to drive.
But people wont know that till the drive one.

1.4 TSI 90 kW/122 pk 6-hand € 17.275,-
2.0 TDI 103 kW/140 pk 6-hand € 20.900,-
1.4 TSI 118 kW/160 pk 6-hand € 18.970,-
2.0 TDI 125 kW/170 pk 6-hand € 21.075,-
All prizes are without tax http://www.volkswagen.nl/home/modellen/golf/prijze...

Yeah diesel cost more but you get also a car that's more worth when you sell it, at least here in Europe.

And the attitude was also longtime here diesels suck, till people found out that the new diesels are actual better to drive then petrol cars.
It will take some time but think diesel will also become populair in the us.

But then small cars make more sens here in the EU with the mouths higher full prizes, it is a shame that the US dose not tax there full the same way as here €1.60/L ($6.- gallon) for petrol and €1.34/L ($5.- gallon) for diesel.

And yeah i hate filling up my car (GS450h), but what dose it mater ware i pay my tax, on the full-pomp ore on other tings.
It is for the country's trade surplus beneficial to have people drive small cars, specially in bad economic times.

I drove myself a normal GS350 before and the savings i have from driving hybrid is nice, but my next car going to be a CT200h, I just don't need a big car anymore
The same go's for my wife how is district manager of a supermarket chain and manages about 70 stores, and she drives a Golf 1.6 TDI.

Next to that i have a Nissan Skyline R33 (580hp) and a Jaguar XJS 6L V12 ware i spend 2y on to get it back in mint condition, so its not like i don't love fast ore big cars, and if the jag would be reliable for everyday use i would even love to drive that everyday to work, just the sound that V12 makes, hmmmm ^_^
But we don't live in the 60s anymore, and just wasting patrol on a big car just to go to and from work is just selfish, and i would like for my kids and grand kids also be able to drive a car wen they are 18 just as i was.

Its simple just rise full tax and lower the other taxes, and people will start driving smaller cars.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By bah12 on 3/11/2011 11:03:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Its simple just rise full tax and lower the other taxes, and people will start driving smaller cars.
I agree, if our government wants to shape car buying habits, fuel tax is the place to do it. However this is tricky as we have a MUCH larger truck fleet. We are a BIG country with crappy rail service the VAST majority of stuff coming in on the west coast gets trucked to the east. Increasing fuel cost for fleets dramatically impacts cost of living for all goods not just cars. So as long as you could exempt them from the excess tax it may work.

*Note to Fit: I'm not saying they should, just that it would be far more effective than EV subsidies.
quote:
And the attitude was also longtime here diesels suck, till people found out that the new diesels are actual better to drive then petrol cars.

I'm not one with that attitude, I simply agree that it is not smart for Ford to invest heavily in a market that does not exist yet.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By sprockkets on 3/13/2011 10:40:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
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
quote:
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...


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By piroroadkill on 3/11/2011 3:54:51 AM , Rating: 2
You're never factoring in fluctuating fuel costs, though. If the past in any indication, prices are only going to go up, up.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By bah12 on 3/11/2011 9:25:16 AM , Rating: 2
Actually if history tells us much is that if prices of go up so do the price of anything fuel related. So even if energy costs go up the price of each car should "in therory" go up accordingly. Casting the heavier engine, shipping it and moving all the cars around the country takes money. That cost is historically passed on to the consumer.

Therefore if gas goes up 10% and it takes x gallons to transport a gas car, and y gallons to transport a diesel the cost of those cars should rise in proportion as well. Fuel is intertwined to every product we buy.

But you are correct that it could pay off in the long run, but again the problem is people don't keep cars for the long run. So why invest heavily in R&D for a market that just does not exist yet.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Dr of crap on 3/11/2011 9:58:09 AM , Rating: 2
I hear this that we don't keep our cars long enough song.
So if your the first buyer, and you only keep the car for 5 years, what do you think happens after you get rid of the car??
Do you think it gets trashed and crushed??

No, it gets put up for sale again, and that car will last at least 10-20 years before it gets sent to the junk heap. So the theory that we don't keep our cars long only is true for the first owner. The car will live on, and a diesel will last longer than a gas powered one.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By bah12 on 3/11/2011 10:55:32 AM , Rating: 2
Dude I'm not knocking diesel, I'm just saying that this guys is not way off base like the OP suggested. He is making a sound decision. I actually like the idea of diesel, but regardless of how you and I feel, the marketplace is just not there yet. Could it be, yes, and at that point I'm sure Ford will step up, but at this point it does not make a whole lot of sense.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/11/2011 11:26:36 AM , Rating: 2
The issue regarding keeping a car longer than the average vehicle fleet age in the US has to do with the initial purchaser recouping the additional cost of the diesel. If he only keeps it for 5 years, he won't justify the additional cost. So his argument is good, regardless of the total life of the vehicle in the secondary market.

That being said, the average fleet age of ALL cars in the US is about 9 years, so the idea that all cars live till age 25 in the secondary market is also wrong.


By Dr of crap on 3/11/2011 12:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
And you think the recoup cost for EVs is there?
Not!


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 2:48:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So his argument is good, regardless of the total life of the vehicle in the secondary market.


A car that has low operating use is worth more in the secondary market. For example, a used 2006 Prius is worth more than equivalently MSRPed 2006 Camry. A used 2006 Highlander Hybrid is worth ~2,000 dollars more than the Highlander.

To evaulate a car for the US, I typically use 10 year/150,000 miles. 25 years is way


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Strunf on 3/11/2011 7:46:14 AM , Rating: 1
The thing you don't into account is that diesel cars (at least here) don't lose their value as fast as gasoline ones, a 10 years old 2nd hand gasoline car is old a diesel one not so much.


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.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Aloonatic on 3/11/2011 8:28:49 AM , Rating: 2
One thing to bear in mind is that diesels appear to be a kind of niche product in the US, so are priced accordingly, and not particularly competitively.

I just did a quick price comparison on ford.co.uk of a forcus zetec (which is what they call their top model for some, confusing reason).

I was lazy and just went with a standard price, changing only the engine:

1.6 100PS Petrol - £13,248
1.6 109PS TDCi Diesel - £14,843
2.0 124PS Petrol - £14,623

So the diesel is ~ £1,600 more than the equivalent petrol, and only slightly more than the more highly powered petrol model. So it seems that the prices of diesels and petrol cars are much closer here, where diesels are more popular, than in the US.

UK dif - ~£1,600
US dif - ~£2,800

The UK figures include VAT (@ 20%) too, which probably make matters worse.

They are much more popular here (I am assuming), mostly because our fuel prices are so high, so the benefits of better mileage pay off more, and I am assuming that prices are only going to go up in the US too, so in those 10 years, the amount you are gaining by having a better MPG car will prob improve too.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By bah12 on 3/11/2011 9:17:49 AM , Rating: 2
Like I said that is kind of his point. They are very much a niche. As other have said, and perhaps I was not clear, there are many very good benefits to diesel cars and I agree price is not the only motivating factor. However the US market would need a dramatic shift for it to be financially wise for Ford to put much effort forth.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Aloonatic on 3/11/2011 10:07:27 AM , Rating: 2
They used to be a niche in the UK/Europe too. As fuel prices rose, they become more attractive and common, however. I'm not sure exactly what is happening in the US at the moment, but I would wager that the fuel price trend is upwards there too.

I don't really see what the "effort" is though, as they are surly going to keep on making diesels to see in the rest of the world, so just bothering to market ad sell them more in the US shouldn't be too hard.

Maybe they just like the bigger margin that they might be making from diesels in the US, assuming that the prices of petrol cars are competitive in the UK and US.

Maybe they think that it's not worth putting whatever effort it is in expanding diesel sales in the US as they think that electric or hybrids are a better way to spend their time/money.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Spuke on 3/11/2011 1:53:52 PM , Rating: 2
It's a niche here in the US regardless of the reason otherwise VW diesels would be flying off the lots. Hybrids are more popular here. My reasoning is the price at the pump more than anything. We're very sensitive to gas prices here. People were dumping their SUV's/trucks/cars a few years ago just to get a more fuel efficient car regardless of the fact that a new car plus huge negative equity from the "old" one cost more money than just simply paying more for the gas. My wife got caught up in all of that until I showed her on paper than even though we would increase mpg by 10, overall costs would increase by $300 a month. I told her to simply cut the price difference from somewhere else. She drank a lot of Starbuck's back then so she cut back on that. Problem solved!

Diesel costs more than premium gas here in most places and people see that, the extra cost of the diesel option, do a quick calculation and bam! More money. Even though hybrids cost more, the fuel doesn't plus the mileage is better than diesel so they see that as acceptable (EPA ratings, don't care about your experiences).


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 2:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hybrids are more popular here.


Sigh. I really hate this very common misunderstanding.

Outside the Toyota Prius, Hybrids are not popular here.

Not a single Hybrid Model (outside the Hybrid only Prius, Insight, and CRZ) has a take rate of above 15%.

Diesel models on the other hand, have significant higher take rates.

http://www.hybridcars.com/hybrid-clean-diesel-sale...

Sales in 2011

Prius - 24,174
Jetta TDI - 6,342 (Excludes Golf, but includes SportWagen)
Insight - 3,276
Fusion - 2,348
CRZ - 1,985

The Jetta TDI is selling better than the #2 and #3 Hyrbid models in the United States. Throw in the Golf Sales, and the VW 2.0L TDI engine sells better than the Insight + Fusion + CRZ. This is despite comming from an "inferior" manufacturer (VW) and having significantly higher costs than the CRZ and the Insight. (Though the CRZ is certainly a limited appeal model)


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)


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Dr of crap on 3/11/2011 9:51:00 AM , Rating: 2
So you would FOR EVs and hybrids then??

The math for these also spells longer ownership to recoup larger cost.


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.


By btc909 on 3/10/2011 6:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
How long is this moron Derrick Kuzak going to hold out diesel powered vehicles for the US market. Oh wait those future CAFE standards. THEN it will be ok.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/10/2011 7:43:17 PM , Rating: 2
I can understand his view point from one perspective however.

Ford has created the "best" midsized Hybrid, the Fusion. It gets tremendous fuel economy, looks like a normal Fusion, and gets pretty positive reviews for driving experience. Even though it gets almost 50% better mileage than a I4 Fusion and 70% better milegage than a V6, they sell less hybrids than V6 models. Significantly less. (I believe the Split goes something like >60% I4, >30% V6, <10% Hybrid). And the V6 models are not cheap either.

Looking at that, its hard to imagine that an American consumer is willing to spend the money required for a Diesel Engine.

I think however he is wrong.

Americans have shown they are willing to pay for VW's TDI in astonishing numbers (Take rates of 25%+). One reason is that VW didn't go all out after fuel economy. They kept the TDI in the same performance range (especially in low rev driving) as the existing gasoline models. Don't believe me? Go drive back to back the 2.5L VW gasoline engine and the 2.0L TDI VW engine. Not only does the 2.0L TDI deliever better fuel economy, it is also the "larger" feeling engine. Is it the same thing as the 2.0L Turbo Gasoline VW? No, performance wise, it is lacking significantly, but Diesel is not being positioned as the "fuel saving choice" but the "better than normal performace+great mileage" choice.

I think this position could work for most if not all US manufacturers... at least to better take rates than the Hybrids models.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By YashBudini on 3/11/2011 12:46:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Americans have shown they are willing to pay for VW's TDI in astonishing numbers (Take rates of 25%+). One reason is that VW didn't go all out after fuel economy.


I recall not so long ago driving past a truck stop that posted diesel @ $5.009

So much for memory.

quote:
they sell less hybrids than V6 models


You wonder if that comes from past experience with shaky 4 bangers and if the buyers even bothered to test drive the 4 cyl. A friend switched back from a 6 to a 4 after a pleasant test drive. Of course the salesperson won't sway you and they may believe the hybrid is a tough sell. The base price difference of the I4 and the hybrid is $8520. You can get a sport version for what the hybrid costs.

Too bad Ford doesn't offer the sport version with the smaller six. Those that want the sport model have no engine choices at all.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 2:00:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I recall not so long ago driving past a truck stop that posted diesel @ $5.009


Why do people persist in wanting to talk about small scale evidence when we already know what the country has on average?

http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pri_gnd_dcus_n...

On Highway Diesel is arund the same price as Premium Gasoline.

In Feburary, Take Rates for TDI version of VW products was still greater than 25%+

quote:
You can get a sport version for what the hybrid costs.


No... not really. Sure for an initial purchase price. But after 150,000 miles, the Hybrid will be 15,000 dollars cheaper. The Hybrid is the Lowest TCO engine choice the Fusion has... if you equip the I4 anywhere near the Hybrid levels.

The Fusion Hybrid is the best "value" in the Fusion line-up. For it to be selling so much less than the V6 model must be very discouraging for Ford.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Spuke on 3/11/2011 3:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Americans have shown they are willing to pay for VW's TDI in astonishing numbers (Take rates of 25%+).
And before the DSG, VW had high takes rate for manual transmissions too. Something that was definitely NOT representative of typical American buying habits. I still can't figure how you equate Americans wanting diesel by using numbers from sales of a niche automaker. VW does not represent, in any way, shape or form the car buying habits of the American buying public. A more accurate picture would've been if Honda had went through with the diesel Accord (because Honda actually sells cars that millions of people buy not what a couple of people buy). If the diesel take rate was high with the Accord, then other automakers would definitely follow suit. I'm sure that Ford is watching VW's diesel sales very closely. It's just not there. People don't want to pay MORE at the pump and MORE for the diesel option. No one cares about the extra torque here either. Despite what the clueless and the EU thinks, Americans could care less about power/torque. We just want to get up to freeway speeds in a decent amount of time and have enough room for our kids and stuff.

I'm a car guy and my wife is not. She's in the market for another car and can't figure out what she wants. Her list is as follows:

1. BMW 335i coupe or sedan
2. Ford Edge
3. Ford Explorer
4. Ford Focus
5. Honda Accord coupe

She's all over the place! That's typical. I already know what my next car is going to be long BEFORE decide I buy it. That's niche.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 4:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We just want to get up to freeway speeds in a decent amount of time and have enough room for our kids and stuff.


Go drive the 2.5L Golf versus the 2.0L TDI Golf. Tell me which engine you would prefer.

quote:
1. BMW 335i coupe or sedan


BMW sells nearly as many 335d sedans as 335i sedans.

Spuke. I main this point in another post, but I will do so again.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid is a fanstastic macine. It has superior driving experience to the I4, great feature set, and has outstanding mileage.

In Febuary 2011, Ford Sold 23,111 Fusions and 1,775 MKZs
http://media.ford.com/images/10031/Feb11sales.pdf

In Feburary 2011, Ford Sold 1,379 Fusion Hybrids and 395 MKZ hybrids.
http://www.hybridcars.com/hybrid-clean-diesel-sale...

Thats take rates of 5.9% and 22.2% respectively.

Yet you Champion Hybrids as popular options in the US.

While I agree, a mainstream automaker will not have the same take rate on a Diesel Option as VW does... VW's Jetta however has a ~35% take rate (if you include all Jetta nameplates and exclude Golf + GTI nameplates). Thats at least 6 times greater than Ford's take rate on the Fusion Hybrid.

If Ford could sell a 2.2L or so Diesel in its Fusion model line without Adblue. I think Ford would see a take rate around 10% (less than 1/3 VW's take rate). The model would outsell the Hybrid every month by a significant margin.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By omnicronx on 3/10/2011 8:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
I never understood the diesel argument.

Get this through your heads, diesel is only feasible if it remains somewhat of a niche.

The proof is as simple as looking at the oil refinement breakdown.. On average with today's refining tools, you get about half as much diesel fuel as you do gasoline from a single barrel.

This does not even account for the fact that the low sulfur diesel required by government law costs even more to produce or the fact that many governments tax the two products in such a way that diesel is only artificial cheaper from a consumer standpoint. (such as in Europe)

So please explain to everyone why on earth we would ever want to move from one oil based dependency to another that yields less volume per barrel?

Diesel is not a replacement for gasoline period.. maybe the masses will come to terms with this in 2,3 years..


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/10/2011 9:25:27 PM , Rating: 4
Only crazy people would think Diesel is a complete replacement for gasoline. Diesel engines can be an effective compliment to Gasoline and Hybrid Gasoline engines.

Your looking at things wrong. When you distill oil, you have the possibility of getting several different mixes of gasoline AND diesel. It is not really possible (not economically viable anyway) to completely get rid of diesel or gasoline. US refiners typically bias their mix towards gasoline. Even biasing the mix, then end up with more Diesel than is typically consumed in the US and the US actually exports Diesel Fuel, especially during summer months when Fuel Oil is in low demand.

The US market light-automobile market could afford to be 10-20% Diesel, which would likely raise the overall efficiency of refineries since I believe a better yielding mix would be used... (I am not an expert on the effects of the different mixes). Having the US transportation fleet be a more effective mix of gasoline and diesel would allow the US to make better use of it existing refineries and stretch the oil. (For example, The Fusion could be 10% Hybrid, 15% Diesel, 25% V6 gasoline and rest I4. This would yield more miles driven on less barrels of oil used) Ironically, the taxing disparities in Europe actually lead to the importation of Diesel fuel... which means some of the Diesel consumed in Europe had very low transportation efficiencies.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Dr of crap on 3/11/2011 9:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
This is what the car makers have said all along -
1- Diesel engines are more expensive than their gasoline counterparts
2- Americans in general are apprehensive to diesel-powered cars
3- Diesel fuel remains more expensive than gasoline
4- The payback from the initial purchase price of a diesel vehicle versus the cost savings from increased fuel efficiency can take ten years

And he is saying these things again because they do not have a diesel ready for the US yet. There have to be mods to it to sell them here.
They do have hybrids and EVs ready to sell here. So it wouldn't be good for them to say that diesels would be a good choice, but here drive these EVs until we have them ready.
How do they and everyone else know what the American car buyer want? It appears so far that they do not want the Volt or the Leaf. The numbers sold aren't very impressive yet. But what are the VW's numbers on thier diesels? Are they selling much?

My feeling is, make some diesels, and let the market decide if they want hybrids, or EVs, or diesels, diesel hybrids.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By FITCamaro on 3/11/2011 11:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
They only don't have a diesel ready for the US because of the insanely high emissions standards here. Knock them down to European levels, and automakers don't have to spend a ton of money to develop emissions controls just for the US. They can use the exact same thing on both continents.


RE: I'd say he is wrong - very wrong.
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 2:18:05 PM , Rating: 2
EuroBin 5 is now essentially as strict as US standards.

Europeans are used to the concept of AdBlue and are willing to put up with it for the much better (for them) cost of using Diesel.

Ford has engines that would pass EPA/Federal Guidelines. Used in small cars, like the Focus, there would be no need for AdBlue even.


We are not going to force it on customers
By lennylim on 3/10/2011 5:39:01 PM , Rating: 3
Funny he should say that. Instead of offering customers a choice, he is forcing it on customers - to go gasoline only.

That's fine with me. Ford is never one of the top 5 in my list whenever I'm looking for a car to buy. I was just thinking of getting a turbodiesel VW for my next car few weeks ago.




By wyrmslair on 3/10/2011 5:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
Ding, Ding, Ding! Winner!

At least on the "not forcing" part. I'm a blue oval guy but this dope needs to be put out to pasture. The gas eco's are great engines but there is more to be done. If the new Focus get's almost 40mpg with a 2.0 gas, it should be able to get 40 to 50 with a 1.6 to 2.0 diesel that's properly setup.


RE: We are not going to force it on customers
By drycrust3 on 3/10/2011 9:09:37 PM , Rating: 2
The real problem for Ford isn't that he is restricting customers choice, but that he is restricting Ford's future. He should be investigating various avenues, such as hybrid, full electric, diesel, ethanol, etc, because he doesn't know what the future holds and which technologies they will need.
If the price of petrol suddenly doubles where is Ford? Nowhere. But if they have a range of options that have been developed and ready to go, e.g. cars that can run on 100% ethanol, diesel, or fully electric cars, then they aren't left looking like a possum in the headlights of a truck.


By Dr of crap on 3/11/2011 10:02:04 AM , Rating: 2
Bravo, couldn't have said it better.

Put some other cars out there for sale.
See what sells best.
They may be surprised what will make them money.


Another option
By lifewatcher on 3/10/2011 5:35:06 PM , Rating: 2
In Russia a capacitor-based hybrid is being developed. Should be out next year. Look it up, as DT doesn't let me post links.




RE: Another option
By lennylim on 3/10/2011 5:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
Oh no, I hope you didn't start another series of "In Soviet Russia" jokes.


RE: Another option
By btc909 on 3/10/2011 6:09:11 PM , Rating: 4
A US Company AFS Trinity Power has the same idea for years, AKA the 150MPG Saturn Vue Hybrid. A battery does best when it has a consistent constant drain, not spikes, AKA a driver mashing the gas pedal would be a spike or a "high demand". This also creates heat which will wear a battery down faster. Manufactures will leave a dead space to factor in battery cells dying out over time which is normal. But if you had capacitor with a battery feeding a capacitor instead of directly tied to the battery you would result in less heat & less load on the battery. You can reduce the amount of spare battery space to compensate for battery cell loss resulting in more battery capacity. Better yet make that engine a diesel engine which are most efficient running at a constant RPM (ever heard of the term a diesel can run 120MPH all day long) well yeah a diesel is most efficient at a constant RPM. I would like to see a diesel generator tied to a battery & a capacitor & watch those scary high MPG numbers. Also a means of capturing the heat energy from the diesel generator & loose the friction brakes.


Silly, silly man
By yxalitis on 3/10/2011 5:41:04 PM , Rating: 5
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." -- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.

"But what...is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys." -- Sir William Preece, chief engineer of the British Post Office, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"Diesels Won't Win Over American Buyers" Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development: 2011




RE: Silly, silly man
By VahnTitrio on 3/11/2011 10:35:15 AM , Rating: 1
And the point of this is? I believe all those companies are still around, and some of them are doing quite well. Plus those quotes don't have much context - in 1943 there probably only was a market for a handful of computers given the expense and limited benefits. I'm certain Ford has market studies that say diesel sedans is currently not a profitable market. Should those studies ever reveal a favorable market, it wouldn't take long for Ford to produce such a vehicle...


interesting information
By haplo602 on 3/11/2011 1:31:13 AM , Rating: 2
this is interesting information for me. actualy in my country (Central Europe), diesel is cheaper than gasoline (1.34euro to 1.42euro/l).

the actual trouble I have is understanding the imperial fuel economy numbers. mpg vs l/100km as I am used to. I had to ask google to help :-)

I have a European Ford Fusion with a 1.6l TDCI engine (turbo diesel). given the highway limit of 130km/h, I get to aprox 42 mpg on that speed limit. My average is about 52mpg. The price difference to a similar gasoline engine payed itself in about 75000km (or almost 3 years).

Seems the US are a completely different world.




RE: interesting information
By spamreader1 on 3/11/2011 7:22:38 AM , Rating: 2
It is after all the "New World", nobody said it was a better one.


RE: interesting information
By theapparition on 3/11/2011 9:05:29 AM , Rating: 2
European Diesel is only cheaper because your governments have made it so with massive subsidies. You're still paying for it, just that the money comes from other taxes. Your taxes are astronomical compared to US taxes.


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.. !!


Most Americans are technically illiterate
By Beenthere on 3/10/2011 9:02:44 PM , Rating: 2
It's very difficult to sell Diesels cars in the U.S. because most Americans are technically illiterate. It doesn't matter if it's autos, PCs, or the number of days in a week, most Americans have no clue.

Older U.S. consumers probably still remember the crap Diesels Detroit sold in the 80's fictitious "gas crisis". They were unreliable, crude, expensive headaches.

VW/Audi, M-B and BMW have offered excellent Diesel's in Europe and the U.S. for decades. The current model Diesels from these companies have extremely clean emissions, are quiet, get good mpg and drive like a gas engine because of the turbo.

Ford's Ecoboost engines are good and will win over many people as the V-6 drives like a V-8.




By Keeir on 3/11/2011 2:38:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's very difficult to sell Diesels cars in the U.S. because most Americans are technically illiterate.


No. It was difficult to sell Diesels in the US because until recently, gasoline was too cheap to allow Diesel to be a good option.

A Diesel Engine costs around 2,500 more than an equivalent gasoline engine. (Create an equivalent driving experience in more conditions) The Diesel Engine will cost around 15-20% less to operate per mile. Lets go with 15%. (Mileage is 25%, but fuel filters, different oil, higher fuel prices, etc) For a Diesel Engine to make sense, people need to be able to save around 250 dollars year on Fuel (preferably 300). This implies a person needs to be spending ~1,700 dollars on gasoline fuel a year.

When gasoline was 1.50 a gallon (not too long ago), this was 1,130 gallons! Or like 25,000+ miles a year. As more than twice the average distance, this would be a very small subset of the population.

Today, with gasoline prices at 3.50 a gallon, this is only 485 gallons, or enough to travel ~13,000 miles a year. A relatively large number of people (me includeed) travel 15,000+ miles a year.

As fuel prices continue to rise, Diesel will make more and more sense to a larger portion of the population.


Is that really the problem?
By YashBudini on 3/11/2011 12:30:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Americans in general are apprehensive to diesel-powered cars

Perhaps people recall some of the GM diesel cars from the 80's that were what? Total Ps.O.S.?

You may love the 80's but its cars not so much.

The only US people really interested in diesel cars are those that think they can use home heating fuel to bypass road taxes.




RE: Is that really the problem?
By Keeir on 3/11/2011 9:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only US people really interested in diesel cars are those that think they can use home heating fuel to bypass road taxes.


Really?

In 2010, nearly ~80,000 Diesels were sold in the US car market. The majority of these Diesels can not be run using home heating fuel... nor do I see people buying BMW and Audis to use home heating fuel.


Diesels in Europe
By ssobol on 3/10/2011 7:17:19 PM , Rating: 2
Diesels are all over in Europe. Even in the compact cars. Last time I was there (UK and France) 3 out of the 4 cars I rented were diesels (didn't ask for them, just what they gave me), including a Ford Focus (much different from the crappy Focus that is available now in the US). Other than the "Diesel" sticker on the fuel filler door you couldn't really tell the difference when driving it. When cold it did make a little more noise than a gas engine might, but it went away when it warmed up. In terms of driving the performance was quite good. I had no trouble driving on the highway (dual carriage way). In the UK between the diesel engine/fuel and the larger gallon size, the Focus I had got 49 miles to the gallon in normal driving according to the onboard computer(wasn't trying to maximize the mileage). One of the other diesel cars (a Hyundai I think) got 54 mpg.

I would be quite happy to have the same diesel Focus that I drove in the UK as my car in the states. The US ones (2010 model) are really annoying (had it as a rental) and I certainly would not own one.




So
By FITCamaro on 3/10/2011 7:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
“It doesn’t make sense. We are not going to force it on customers,” he added.


So make it an option...




GM is archival
By HotPlasma on 3/11/2011 7:32:45 AM , Rating: 2
I did not know that. Where do you think they store everything?




Stupid executives
By euler007 on 3/11/2011 12:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
Let me choose myself dammit. How long until we get rid of these baby boomers that think they know what we want.




Wrong again
By Ammohunt on 3/11/2011 3:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
If i were in the market for a new car and they were available i would buy a volkswagon TDI over pretty much any other car.




No Diesels
By dcollins on 3/11/2011 7:13:17 PM , Rating: 2
This saddens me. I would like to buy a truck in the next few years and the new Ranger with the 2.5L diesel is _exactly_ what I want. I guess I'm in the minority, but I have no need for a full size truck that gets ~20mpg. I want a smaller trucks that gets 35mpg and still can handle anything I will through at it (carrying motorcycles, supplies from Home Depot, etc.) This just solidifies that this is not happening.




omg - How dumb is he.
By SSDMaster on 3/11/2011 8:45:20 AM , Rating: 1
Hybrid's are the same if not worse from a price savings standpoint. Plus Diesel's hold their value better while Hybrids..

I'd love to have a Diesel Wrangler (I know this article's about Ford), and so would the rest of the world, but they just won't make one cause all these executives are IDIOTS.




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