California Autos Examiner

Friday, February 06, 2009

McCluggage Calls Fiels a Wuss on Diesel

Denise McCluggage is fanatic about diesel. Nothing wrong with that. I happen to like the fuel myself. Smells good (to me) and it doesn't blow up in your face like gasoline does (don't ask me how I know that).

Anyways, Denise has taken Ford's Mark Fields to task about the lack of diesel vehicles here in the states. She'd like to see a diesel Fiesta or Fusion in our future and thinks that Ford is missing a great opportunity. In the column linked below, she offers some tips to Ford on how they might go about successfully marketing a diesel engine in a car.

I've hounded my fair share of executives about diesel engines and to be honest, I've stopped asking. Firstly, because I know all of their standard answers, but secondly, they've started winning me over with their arguments. The bottom line is, do we upend our current supply system and start pushing diesel or to we try to optimize what we can do with gasoline? When you add up what direct injection and six speed automatics are already giving us now and then factor in what HCCI can give us in the future, quite frankly I do not see such clear path for diesel in small cars. Now in SUVs and pickups, I'm all for diesel in those monsters.

I do believe that there is a market for diesel passenger cars, but it's a small niche and VW, Audi, Mercedes and BMW are rallying to the call. Honda seems to be backing off and I haven't heard anything from Nissan as of late, but supposedly we'll be getting a diesel Maxima. When Mahindra launches here we'll be getting some light-duty diesel vehicles from India.

Having said all of that, I'd love to see a diesel Fiesta or Fusion sold here. However, I won't lambaste Ford execs if it doesn't happen. Now more than ever, a compelling business case has to be made. Right now, I simply can't see one for most manufacturers.

source: AutoWeek

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