Ford could bring diesel engines to passenger cars in the U.S. market -- if customers want them. That’s what Ford director of powertrain research Dan Kapp told Ward’s Auto when pressed on the availability of turbodiesel cars on our shores.
Currently, Ford only offers diesel engines in the U.S. in its large pickup trucks but turbo-diesel engines are available for almost all of Ford’s European-market cars. Kapp said that he’d like to bring diesel-powered cars to the American market -- they could help Ford meet stricter fuel-economy requirements -- but doing so depends on customer demand.
“I love diesels and want them to be a solution,” Kapp told Ward’s. Ford will continue to evaluate customer demand for turbodiesel engines and will offer them here “if there’s market demand.”
Part of the issue lies with cost. Kapp claims a diesel-powered car would cost 10 to 15 percent more than an equivalent gasoline-fired model. Moreover, diesel fuel typically costs a little more per gallon than gasoline. However, diesel engines tend to be far more fuel-efficient than gasoline models. “It’s a tough economic challenge.” Kapp said. “Will customers pay more for a diesel? Will they get a payback?”
There certainly is precedent for bringing diesel engines to American-market cars. Chevrolet recently announced plans to offer a diesel engine for the Cruze sedan starting in 2013, and Volkswagen continues to find thousands of buyers for its clean-diesel TDI products. In fact, 24.1 percent of all new Volkswagens in this country are now sold with diesel engines.
If Ford were to bring a diesel engine to America, it would likely slot it into the compact Focus or Fiesta. The next-generation Ford Escape would also be a strong candidate, as Volkswagen plans to bring a diesel version of its similarly sized Tiguan crossover here by 2015.
The final decision, though, will come down to customer demand. Do you want Ford to bring diesel-powered cars to the U.S. market? Would you pay a little more to buy a car with a diesel engine than was more fuel-efficient? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Sources: Ward’s Auto, Volkswagen