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Transportation Technology

Ford's 65MPG Due In November, But Not In the US 1103

computermesh writes "Ford has a vehicle that gets 65MPG and will not be released in the US. Why? Because they can not afford to! 'Ford's 2009 Fiesta ECOnetic goes on sale in November. But here's the catch: Despite the car's potential to transform Ford's image and help it compete with Toyota Motor (TM) and Honda Motor (HMC) in its home market, the company will sell the little fuel sipper only in Europe. "We know it's an awesome vehicle," says Ford America President Mark Fields. "But there are business reasons why we can't sell it in the U.S." The main one: The Fiesta ECOnetic runs on diesel.'"
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Ford's 65MPG Due In November, But Not In the US

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  • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:49PM (#25017337) Homepage

    Biodiesel is about the only fuel which really can be produced from crops/tanks of sludge.

    The USA should be encouraging diesel engines for all it's worth, not making things difficult.

    • by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <bhtooefr@bhtooefr. o r g> on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:51PM (#25017363) Homepage Journal

      But California's under the mistaken belief that NOx emissions are the source of their smog problems, except in a VOC rich environment (basically any environment with a heavy percentage of gasoline cars,) smog is [b]reduced[/b] but NOx emissions, especially those from diesels.

      But, they don't seem to quite get that, and public perception is that diesels are dirty, so...

      • by bfizzle ( 836992 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:58PM (#25017481)

        They have fixed the problem by creating affordable and effective catalytic converts for diesel.

        Check out VW's new TDI they just released for the US. Way more low end torque than gasoline and almost 50 mpg. I have no idea why the US hasn't fallen in love with diesel yet.

        • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:02PM (#25017539) Homepage

          I actually have a 140 HP VW Diesel engine in my car, and I love it. :) (And no, it's not a VW, it's a Skoda).

        • by rsw ( 70577 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:09PM (#25017667) Homepage

          I have no idea why the US hasn't fallen in love with diesel yet.

          Well, I have. I just bought one of the Jetta TDI wagons and it's amazing. I can get 50 MPG in mixed city/highway driving plus intermittent AC with some mild hypermiling techniques (fixed consumption hill climb, engine braking, anticipating traffic ahead; no pulse/glide or unpowered driving) and I expect that the fuel consumption will go down measurably as the engine breaks in (peak compression increases by 20% over the break-in of a VW TDI engine). All this in a car that's big enough to fit five people plus cargo.

          • by bfizzle ( 836992 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:30PM (#25017961)

            Awesome to hear... I'll probably be trading in my full sized pickup for a TDI Sportswagen this fall as I move from rural Washington to Seattle.

            Great to hear people are getting way over what the EPA suggested and still have room for carrying a bunch of crap.

          • by superdave80 ( 1226592 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @07:18PM (#25018557)

            ...fixed consumption hill climb...

            Translation: You slow down on hills.
            Result: You impede traffic and cause more fuel to be consumed because you have now caused a traffic jam and everyone is now in stop-and-go traffic.

            I live in the San Francisco bay area, and nearly every highway that has even a small incline gets backed up because people don't know how to keep a steady speed while climbing a hill. Now, maybe you don't do this in high-congestion areas, which is OK. But for the love of God, DO NOT do this in high traffic areas.

            • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @07:28PM (#25018679) Homepage Journal

              I live in the San Francisco bay area, and nearly every highway that has even a small incline gets backed up because people don't know how to keep a steady speed while climbing a hill.

              A study a few years ago showed that the major cause of traffic jams was caused by people automatically hitting their brakes as they go over a hilltop, no matter how small. And then the person behind them will break harder, not knowing how hard the person in front of them breaks. And so on, for at least half a mile back. This is a psychological phenomenon, and it's unlikely that there are any good remedies, except for removing anything that could be perceived as a hilltop.

            • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @08:56PM (#25019625)

              Actually, this does not cause a traffic jam. Gently slowing and accelerating as required by terrain and traffic uses less fuel than sharp braking and accelerating. I have never had a problem with gently slowing up a hill, and gently applying the throttle as required while climbing, but mileage decreases dramatically by using "standard" techniques (as in me-first-driver techniques).

              Gently climbing hills without flooring it and therefore using too much fuel doesn't automatically mean "driving below the limit" or any such thing. It simply means good technique. If traffic jams up, it's because people are following too closely (the two-second rule: are you obeying it?) or failing to otherwise ensure that there is sufficient space around them to 'take up' the variation in speed of vehicles ahead (and there will always be a variation to some extent; again, use the two-second rule, at LEAST).

              Stop blaming other motorists and fix your driving habits so that you don't HAVE to slam on your brakes (and cause, or be a part of, a cause-and-effect wave behind you).

        • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:14PM (#25017743)
          The same turbo 4 gets 263 hp if it runs on regular gas. That's one reason the US hasn't fallen in love with underpowered, stinky diesels yet. Maybe if gas were heading towards $5 a gallon instead of back to $3 a gallon, diesels might gain some traction.
          • by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:39PM (#25018101) Journal

            Peak power isn't really a useful number unless you intend to go ridiculously fast.

            Diesel is different from gas in that the torque is where you want it, at the low end, so driving is still fun.

      • by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:04PM (#25017567)

        That "mistaken belief" comes as the product of a lot of research into particulate emissions.

        Still, Ford misses another opportunity to do good, as the emissions of this econobox are said to be decently low-- in the face of amazingly bad gas guzzlers throughout the state.

        Remember that fuel in the EU runs between 8-11euros per gallon, adjusted. The car sell will sell well there, and we need to rebalance the trade deficits away from the Chinese for a change.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        But, they don't seem to quite get that, and public perception is that diesels are dirty, so...

        That public perception is backed up by decades of diesels smelling like hell and belching soot. It's not really so crazy.

      • by anonicon ( 215837 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:11PM (#25017689)

        This shouldn't matter since clean diesel was implemented nationwide in the U.S. in 2007. It requires both the fuel and the car to abide by the clean diesel standards set forth, and is about 90+% cleaner than old diesel:

        http://auto.howstuffworks.com/how-clean-diesel-fuel-works.htm [howstuffworks.com]


        • by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <bhtooefr@bhtooefr. o r g> on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:19PM (#25017811) Homepage Journal

          Clean diesel fuel just means it's possible to put a $2000 particulate filter and another $1000 (or so) NOx trap on a car, it doesn't make those parts cheap.

        • by Bent Mind ( 853241 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:43PM (#25018141)
          Thank you.

          I've seen car commercials talk about how their car is environmentally safe because it uses diesel. I've always thought, WTF? It must be some scam. All too often, I've found myself behind a diesel that was belching out so much smoke that you couldn't see around it. I'd have to roll up all the windows and hold my breath until I was able to pass it.

          Now I see that it's simply a poorly designed vehicle combined with a poorly refined fuel. That the newest diesels don't have this problem if you can find clean diesel. Now if only diesel wasn't the most expensive price at the pump. I suppose they have to pay for the new refining techniques.

          I remember reading once that diesel engines were most efficient when run at their top RPM. Are there any vehicles that take advantage of this, by combining a diesel engine, generator, and electric motor? I believe that's how diesel locomotives work.

      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @11:55PM (#25021029) Homepage

        Fair enough, but there still is way too much hype over European diesels.

        1) The NEDC (New European Drive Cycle) is more lax than the revised EPA drivecycle -- lower speeds, less aggressive accel, etc. It more fits typical European driving. A rough conversion from the NEDC MPG to the revised EPA drivecycle is to divide by about 1.15

        2) Diesel is simply a denser fuel. A gallon of diesel represents about 15% more petroleum and emits about 15% more CO2 when burned. To compare apples to apples, divide all diesel mileages by 1.15 before comparing to gasoline mpgs.

        3) Sometimes when people list European car mpgs, they use miles per imperial gallons. An imperial gallon contains 1.2 times as much as a standard gallon, so divide by 1.2

        In this case, the 65mpg is per US gallon, not imperial, so the equivalent US, gasoline mileage is 65 / 1.15 / 1.15 = 49mpg. You can cross-check comparisons between vehicles by comparing CO2 g/km. Since it's mainly cars sold in Europe from where we get these figures, they're almost always from the NEDC, so no need to convert. In this case, the Ford Fiesta Econetic gets just a touch under 100 g/km, while the 46mpg Prius gets just a touch over 100 g/km. So, that matches up. Lastly, an additional thing to keep in mind is that not all vehicles are the same. In this comparison, for example, the Prius is a larger, more powerful car than the Ford Fiesta Econetic. Without any changes to the body or the technology of the drivetrain, you could always downsize an engine and get better fuel economy. But of course, that's not an equivalent comparison.

        To sum up:

        1) All "gallons" are not created equal (if all you cared about was how many miles you got per "whatever gallon" of "whatever fuel", you might as well run a car on Zarnathian Supergallons of beryllium slurry). One shouldn't compare different-sized gallons or gallons of different fuels without a conversion factor.
        2) All drivecycles are not created equal (and this includes peoples' individual driving styles), and one shouldn't compare non-equivalent drivecycles without a conversion factor.
        3) All vehicles are not created equal, and one should keep this in mind when comparing vehicles (although it's still fair to compare non-equivalent vehicles so long as the difference is noted).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtechie ( 244489 ) *

      Biodiesel is about the only fuel which really can be produced from crops/tanks of sludge.

      Without getting into the details, diesel itself has advantages and disadvantages but biodiesel is snake oil. There is not enough cast-off high-energy crops/sludge to cover any significant usage and purpose-made biodiesel is made at a net loss. Just like ethanol, it's a nice idea that has no chance of working. Even worse, ethanol has the evil corn lobby behind it.

    • by daybot ( 911557 ) * on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:34PM (#25018027)

      Biodiesel is about the only fuel which really can be produced from crops/tanks of sludge.

      The USA should be encouraging diesel engines for all it's worth, not making things difficult.

      For the love of God, no! As an urban cyclist in a country whose tax laws strongly favour diesel vehicles (as various taxes are based on CO2 emissions alone), I can tell you that encouraging diesel use, at least in cities, is a terrible idea. Japan understands this: they've banned many diesel vehicles from Tokyo due to the harmful emissions [wikipedia.org] they put out. And you do realise that burning 'tanks of sludge', e.g. used cooking oil, stinks, right?

      My point is that cities are much better off with petrol vehicles pumping out CO2 that's non-toxic in low concentrations than they are with diesel vehicles pumping out genuinely toxic particulates.

      • by AmigaMMC ( 1103025 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @08:28PM (#25019335)
        I understand that in the U.S. (where I live, but I grew up in Europe and still spend 2 months there every year) people are under the misconception that diesel emission are the most polluting thing there is. Well, it's not true. Green Diesel (it's actually of a white color) has been available in Europe for many years now and pollution laws in the European Union are as strict, if not stricter, than those in the States. Yes you can have diesel that pollutes less than gasoline, it exists and people outside of the US use it. I don't trust Wikipedia on everything, I just use it for a general idea. If Tokyo has banned diesel I'd like to know what type they were using. I was just in Japan in April and I didn't pay attention to cars in Tokyo, but I've seen diesel cars and they didn't strike me as being more pollutant than gasoline ones. On the other hand, in Peru, diesel cars were not running green diesel, just like trucks in the U.S. don't.
    • by rsw ( 70577 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:43PM (#25018153) Homepage
      Actually, BTL (biomass-to-liquid fuel) [wikipedia.org] is a viable alternative to biodiesel. On the upside, it is much closer chemically to petroleum diesel than biodiesel (methyl or ethyl esters). This has the advantage of not violating warranties (Bio does, in some cases) and being more energy dense than B100. On the downside, it takes a lot of energy to run the BTL process, so it pushes the carbon bubble elsewhere (hopefully, IMHO, to nuclear power).

      Addressing your first question: modern diesel engines with Diesel Particular Filters (e.g., the 2009 VW Jetta TDI) could experience some issues with biodiesel. In short, the DPF is designed to trap particulates which are periodically (every 1000 miles or so) burned off by injecting diesel into a specially designed fuel catalyst in the exhaust. This injection uses the cylinder fuel injectors during the exhaust stroke. Unfortunately, biodiesel has a higher boiling point than petroleum diesel, which leads to condensation on cylinder walls and consequent crankcase oil contamination. (reference [biodieselmagazine.com])

      A recent study at MIT's Sloan Automotive Lab [energy.gov] indicates that this contamination might not be as deleterious as previously believed despite the fact that the highly polar methyl esters compete with ZDDP [wikipedia.org] on engine surfaces.

      A couple drivers on the TDIClub forums [tdiclub.com] are running B100 (100% biodiesel) in their 2009 TDIs with the express intent of directly testing oil quality and engine wear. While 2 cars do not a comprehensive study make, their experiences, oil analyses, et cetera will be invaluable in allowing owners to decide what risks they're willing to take. (For reference, previous versions of the VW TDI engine came with stern warnings that no biodiesel should be run at all, and yet many owners have run B100 for 100k to 200k miles with no problems attributable to the biodiesel).

      My guess is that within the next few years all diesel vehicles will be designed to work well with some percentage of biodiesel, since governments around the world (including the EU and several American states) are mandating a schedule of increased biodiesel percentage in their petroleum diesel. Combined with the maturation of BTL, diesel vehicles have a far brighter future than the brain-dead food-for-(poor)-fuel economics that is E85.

  • Truth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:50PM (#25017345) Homepage

    They're correct in that there are business reasons.

    For example, they don't want the bottom to fall out of the market of their other cars, because they know that this would be their top #1 seller, and most of their other cars would become a lot less popular.

    Also, there's probably some kind of collusion going on. We could make a 45mpg car that has decent numbers back in the 80's, but we can't make anything comparable now? Bullshit. There's something behind the scenes.

    • Re:Truth (Score:5, Interesting)

      by djh101010 ( 656795 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:53PM (#25017395) Homepage Journal

      Also, there's probably some kind of collusion going on. We could make a 45mpg car that has decent numbers back in the 80's, but we can't make anything comparable now? Bullshit. There's something behind the scenes.

      Could it be that the cars today have tighter emissions and safety regulations, which cost efficiency and weight, respectively?

      • Re:Truth (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:07PM (#25017619)

        Ok. My 1998 can get 50 MPG. My friends 2003 can get 50 MPG. VW (and the rest of the germans) have made 50 MPG cars for ages and all that meet safety regulations.

        Oh, the other "problem" is that it is manual transmission. Slushboxes suck up fuel economy like most people don't even believe.

        As someone else pointed out if California wasn't so anal about the NOx more diesels could be let in. Most of the NOx is the 'good' kind (NO2 or NO3, I forget) and not the 'bad' kind. But somehow a 8 MPG hummer is Ok.

        I once heard an argument between two people the other day about the "new" V6 some company released that only has 245 HP while some other company's V6 can get 255 HP. I drive a 90 HP turbodiesel. It tops out at around 125 MPH. Most on ramps are long enough to get me up to 80-90 MPH. We have some huge hills around here and it's one of the only I4s I've been in that can accelerate you up the hill (torque rocks).

        Diesel is much quieter on the road. Where gassers are turning 3000+ rpm I'm around 2000, and at peak torque, no downshifting.

        And on the subject of "safety regulations" I've heard countless people talk about buying or riding their motorcycles more in the name of 'fuel economy.' How safe are those things? Most people don't understand there can be a middle ground between an awesome MPG motorcycle and a tank of an SUV? Personally I'd take something 100x safer than a motorcycle that got me 50 MPG even if it was only slightly less safe than an SUV.

        Simply put. Most of my American brethren are absolute idiots.

        • Re:Truth (Score:4, Interesting)

          by SuperQ ( 431 ) * on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:29PM (#25017947) Homepage

          Yup, I can't count how many times I've been stuck behind some slow poke getting onto the freeway in their 200-300HP V6 or V8. I don't know why they need such a big engine when I am barely using the 120hp in my VW's I4.

        • Re:Truth (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Michael Wardle ( 50363 ) <mikel@mi k e l ward.com> on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:41PM (#25018119) Homepage

          Hmm... NOx versus CO2.
          http://www.epa.gov/air/urbanair/nox/hlth.html [epa.gov]

          NOx causes smog, acid rain, breathing problems, and may contribute to global warming.

          CO2 may contribute to global warming.

          It would obviously depend on the quantities, but I can understand why you'd want to limit NOxs.

        • Re:Truth (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Matteo522 ( 996602 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @07:00PM (#25018349)

          I ride a motorcycle to work every day in the name of fuel economy. When I changed jobs last and was no longer employed at the same place as my wife, I knew I needed a vehicle (we shared hers for a few years... it's amazing how well that works once you get over the initial bump).

          Before long, I was looking at motorcycles. I had never ridden one, but I took the safety courses, got licensed, and purchased one all within a few weeks. I absolutely love it. Not only was the new bike cheaper than most used cars, my insurance is a measly $40/mo and I fill up my tank for about $9 every three or four weeks. My total transportation costs are negligible.

          Fortunately, I live in a climate (southern California) where it's dry and warm enough to ride all year long. I also only have to travel a few miles each way using suburban roads (no highway). I feel as safe on my bike as I do driving a car... if not safer due to the added awareness and fewer distractions riding a motorcycle gives you.

          (As a side note, my employer used to be about 12 miles away and recently moved much closer... had I known that was going to be the case, I would've simply gotten a bicycle, but alas... at least I can easily get around town for groceries and the like)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonbryce ( 703250 )

      45mpg is about average in Europe, and most of the average cars come from American manufacturers.

      Anyway, does it matter to Ford which one of their cars is the no. 1 best selling car, as long as it is a Ford car. If they don't put out what people want, then Honda or Toyota will.

    • Re:Truth (Score:5, Insightful)

      by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:58PM (#25017477)

      They're correct in that there are business reasons. For example, they don't want the bottom to fall out of the market of their other cars, because they know that this would be their top #1 seller, and most of their other cars would become a lot less popular.

      The article states that the engines are made in Britain and would be costly to import. Making the engines in the Americas may not have a good enough ROI since they'd need to make a new factory when they currently don't have the resources to do it right now (losing billions during the fiscal year probably doesn't help).

      Also, there's probably some kind of collusion going on. We could make a 45mpg car that has decent numbers back in the 80's, but we can't make anything comparable now? Bullshit. There's something behind the scenes.

      Yes there are: tighter emission standards, higher safety requirements, America's penchant for higher performing engines. There's really no incentive for us here the USA to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. Over in Europe they have 2 things that drive the sales of smaller cars: 1) much higher fuel prices and, 2) more taxes to pay on larger engines.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AncientPC ( 951874 )

        Can't they refit some of the SUV / truck lines in the US to produce the ECOnetic? I realize there are still refitting costs involved but it would readjust their production output to more closely match market demands and result in higher revenue.

      • Re:Truth (Score:4, Interesting)

        by elynnia ( 815633 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:15PM (#25017753)
        Also, just to play devil's advocate,

        Large, automatic transmission cars are a damn lot more comfortable than the small city-cars.

        This seems to be one of the reasons that the American motor industry is so focused on hybrids: because they can make large, comfortable and lumbering cars that use as much fuel as a small one. In Europe, people have been used to small cars for a long time, but give the driver of a Crown Vic a Renault Clio and watch as they complain. Add that to the fact that the American commute can be as long as an European holiday, and it begins to seem that although diesel compacts are the most fuel-efficient technology, a car to truly be popular in the US should be a medium-large sedan with an efficient drivetrain.


        • Re:Truth (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:24PM (#25017891) Homepage

          Add that to the fact that the American commute can be as long as an European holiday

          I thought it was the other way round - most people I've spoken to in the US never do more than five or ten miles at a time in their cars. Most are pretty surprised to hear that I often rack up a couple of hundred miles a day, and that's not uncommon up here.

      • Re:Truth (Score:4, Informative)

        by asynchronous13 ( 615600 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @07:16PM (#25018533)

        Yes there are: tighter emission standards, higher safety requirements, America's penchant for higher performing engines.

        Americans seem to believe that we have higher safety requirements - but its simply not true. The transportation research board http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/teepa/pdf/TRB_Safety_1-03.pdf [lbl.gov] (see page 17) shows that import cars are consistently safer for the occupants than are american vehicles. Typical response at this point is, "But we've got SUVs on our roads, of course the foreign cars have better safety numbers" This data is for import vehicles. that is, they were driven on the same roads, with the same conditions, with the same other vehicles, and came out with significantly better safety numbers. How do you say the US has higher safety standards AND say that SUVs create a more dangerous environment to drive in? Real safety standards would improve the safety of everyone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Read the story. They believe that it would have to retail for more than the Prius, and that they wouldn't the 300K per year to make the investment in converting its north American plants to diesel engine tech. Combined with the fact that they are hemorrhaging money, they are simply too afraid of making the investment. That might just be a way of rephrasing the first point you made about it outselling the other cars, in another way. But your tin foil hat, just makes you look stupid ;)

      We could make a 45 mp
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jhfry ( 829244 )

      45MPG isn't such a big deal. You could probably pull it off with little more than a lawnmower engine and a bicycle. The difficulty is achieving 45MPG+ in a package that meets safety, emissions, and financial limitations. I would imagine that the fact that it is diesel is the largest issue. Also, I imagine it is being assembled by cheaper labor, with cheaper raw materials, and lower taxes/fees. Perhaps it wouldn't be cost effective here in the US... remember, diesel averages 20 cents per gallon more her

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rickb928 ( 945187 )

      "There's something behind the scenes"

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity [wikiquote.org].

      I can't tell you why Ford is so stupid. Like my 3rd grade-teaching niece says, "I don't speak retard".

  • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:51PM (#25017371) Homepage Journal
    ..going to be owned by the Chinese within 20 years. No one doubts how revolutionary both companies efforts are in creating viable electric and hybrid cars, in the mean time they are being laughed at by anyone who has gone car shopping in the last few months with all the sales. Even with some models being 5-10k cheaper from the American manufacturers 90% of the time you can get a Japanese model that gets 20% better gas mileage, higher resale value and better crash rating. Who still buys American vehicles these days, my grandparents got a Toyota last year and my sister has a 10 year old Chevy pickup. Everyone else I know owns German or Japanese vehicles.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      we should be so fucking lucky.

      What's going to happen is Congress will give their CEO buddies a handout, they'll continue with business as usual meaning the Japanese and the Chinese will make inroads, then Detroit will whine about "unfair" competition and get even more money, and you and me, the people will get it in the ass.

      It won't matter who's elected in November by the way. They all work for corp America - that's where the money comes from.

  • That's your excuse?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by iamhigh ( 1252742 ) * on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:52PM (#25017377)
    "The Fiesta ECOnetic runs on diesel."

    Down here in the south about half of the F-250's are diesel powered. The only difference is they only get 18 mpg.
  • by joe_cot ( 1011355 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:52PM (#25017389) Homepage
    The main one: The Fiesta ECOnetic runs on diesel.

    Well, that's a big, big reason. Why would I buy a diesel car that has better mpg if diesel fuel now costs a dollar and a half more than gasoline (more in the winter, when they start refining more heating oil)?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Etrias ( 1121031 )

      Well, that's a big, big reason. Why would I buy a diesel car that has better mpg if diesel fuel now costs a dollar and a half more than gasoline (more in the winter, when they start refining more heating oil)?

      Where's your math on this? Still a lot cheaper than a gas car only getting 22mpg. Even if you had a car that got over 30mpg it's still cheaper. Why wouldn't you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Panaflex ( 13191 )

      Uhm... but the difference between 30 mpg and 50 mpg easily makes up the difference in fuel costs... I owned a VM tdi and easily got 50 mpg on the highway.

      Out of a thousand miles, you'd buy 20 gallons versus 33 gallons (assuming 30 mpg gas and 50 mpg diesel). The price difference (even using the inaccurate figure of $1.50 more per gallon means you save about $10 dollars. For a more reasonable 5% difference in price, means you save about $35 per 1000 miles total.

      Anyway, I'm sure you can find plenty situatio

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:54PM (#25017407) Journal
    I doubt that many people in Europe will be astonished by a diesel that will do 65MPG. Even if those gallons are US gallons (approx 5/6 of an Imperial gallon), it's still not much greater than small diesel cars have achieved for a long time.
    • Yer Right (Score:3, Informative)

      by atari2600 ( 545988 )

      Yep the MINI Cooper Diesel is rated at 72mpg and from the forum posts I've read gets between 56 and 60 mpg. Keep in mind that this Ford will get less than the factory rated 65mpg. Yes, astonishing for the US but not so for Europe. Europeans have far more options on the fuel efficient spectrum that Americans do.

  • by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @05:55PM (#25017431)
    In other news, the auto industry is asking for loans [cnn.com], which some classify as a bail out. This is mostly because no one is buying SUVs and other low-mpg vehicles.

    The irony is delicious.
  • by bogjobber ( 880402 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:01PM (#25017523)

    They are not willing to take any chances, even when their backs are up against the wall. They were completely dependent on gas guzzling behemoths like the F150 and their various SUV's. Yet when the opportunity comes up to do something unique and become a market leader, they are too risk averse to do it.

    They could import these cars, selling them in relatively small quantities for a small profit, and then later do things to bring the costs down. Move the engine manufacturing to the US/Mexico. Use that famous lobbying ability that kept SUV's viable to reduce diesel taxes.

    The Japanese companies didn't become as successful as they are overnight. Ford will not be able to compete with them until they take a long-term approach. Instead of burning through cash trying to maintain their current business model, how about investing that in new facilities that will create the next generation of cars. Focusing only on quarterly reports is what got them into this mess in the first place.

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:03PM (#25017559) Homepage Journal

    The main one: The Fiesta ECOnetic runs on diesel.

    Some people may remember that in the 70s and 80s, the big three were making several diesel-powered sedans for the American market. Some of these vehicles are still operating, because the diesel engines have very good longevity.

    However, it is the negative publicity that those old diesels attained that keeps diesel relegated so low in the US. Those cars in the 70s and 80s made terrible mileage (they were most if not all 8cyl diesels). They spewed noxious exhaust enough to make coal power plants look clean. And they accelerated like Mack trucks propelled by hamsters.

    Unfortunately, many people aren't aware of the progress that diesel engines have made in the past 30 years. And it would seem some of those uninformed people are working for the big 3 automakers.

  • probably the UAW (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:05PM (#25017593)
    the UAW has been running the big 5 auto makers in to the ground by feigning to fight for better wages and benefits for workers years only to line their own pockets at the same time the NTSC and DOT regulating the hell out of the auto makers too thus upping the cost of manufacturing and sticker price of automobiles it is no wonder a new car or pickup costs almost as buying a house and to do what with it?, wear it out and sell it for pennies on the dollar in 10 years only to do it all over again so not many people can get ahead with expensive auto payments and full coverage insurance, i learned my lesson once in the 1980s and i will NEVER buy a new automobile ever again...

    i remember seeing the title of my dad's 1966 chevy impala and it was only 2 grand when it was brand spanking new, look what a new car costs nowadays even with inflation it still should be less than 8 or 10 for a new car, but NoOo a new car is somewhere in the 20 to 30 grand range (ridiculous)! even with financing & reasonable interest rates it is just gawd awful expensive...

    not a troll, just a rant with insight (IMO)
    • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:18PM (#25017803) Journal

      Check this out:

      http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20060621 [epi.org]

      CEO's make 262 times what a worker makes, up from 24 times in 1966. Where's the money going? Not into plant and equipment. Check this guy out:
      http://money.cnn.com/2007/04/05/news/companies/ford_execpay/ [cnn.com]

      I wish I could make that sort of money for destroying a company.

      Why shouldn't the workers get a piece of the pie too? After all, isn't that the American dream?

      BTW, who decides what cars to build? Who decides how to market them? Who decided to stick with SUVs for far too long? Who decided to kill the electric car? Who fought off increasing CAFE standards? Management.

      I'm not saying Unions were innocent little angels, but blaming them for everything is wrong. Personally I feel that far too long we have a had a confrontational relationship between management and labor. They both need to realize they need each other and that they both have the same goal: to make money.

  • 65 MPG? (Score:3, Informative)

    by edxwelch ( 600979 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:07PM (#25017631)

    That's ok, but pretty much the norm these days for a small diesel car. The Ibiza Ecomotive does 74 mpg.

  • by SengirV ( 203400 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:15PM (#25017751)

    ... One reason they can't sell them in the US is because they put the steering wheel on the wrong side - Idiots.

    * It's an F'n joke.

  • Quick summary (Score:5, Informative)

    by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @06:15PM (#25017757) Homepage

    If you can't be bothered to RTFA, please read this.

    Ford makes the engines in Britain. The British pound is high compared to the dollar, so the cars would cost more than a Prius; their best case is that a diesel tax credit might make the car cost only slightly more than a Prius. Their market research indicates that Americans prefer a hybrid gasoline car (such as a Prius) to a diesel, so they don't think the car would sell at the price they would have to charge. It doesn't help that diesel is taxed more than gasoline and thus costs $0.40 to $1.00 more per gallon. Ford could reduce the cost if they start building the diesel engines in Mexico, but they will lose money unless they can sell at least 350,000 diesel engines per year; given their bleak financials they are reluctant to take that risk right now.

    Note that VW is selling Jettas with diesel engines, and several other auto makers are introducing diesel models. If American consumers go for these new diesels, Ford may reconsider their decision.


  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @09:24PM (#25019875)

    1) The Duratorq engine used on this model of the new Ford Fiesta doesn't come close to meeting the EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions standard for internal combustion engines, which is necessary for 50-state sales of the vehicle.

    2) Ford did a number of "tricks" to get that very high fuel economy number, notably using very high gearing, low-rolling resistance tires, and removing a number of accessories considered standard for a modern car. As such, you'll have to forgo air conditioning and put up with sluggish acceleration, both of which are unacceptable to American drivers!

    If Ford does offer the Duratorq turbodiesel engine on the North American-market Fiesta, it will likely be a larger displacement unit (1.6 liters) with modern emission controls to make the engine meet EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 standard. It may also use the new Powershift six-speed dual-clutch transmission, which is starting to become available on European-market Ford Focus models. Sure, it won't get the extreme fuel economy of the ECOnetic Fiesta, but fuel economy approaching 50 mpg with the current EPA highway fuel economy test may be possible.

  • by TheLongshot ( 919014 ) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @12:27AM (#25021247)

    "Americans see hybrids as the darling," says Global Insight auto analyst Philip Gott, "and diesel as old-tech."

    Replace "Americans" with "American auto companies" and they will get it right. VW just rereleased the Jetta TDI in limited quantities and it is selling like hotcakes.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears