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King Shit on Turd Island
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http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_37/b4099060491065.htm?chan=rss_topStories_ssi_5

Green Biz September 4, 2008, 5:00PM EST text size: TT
The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can't Have

Ford's Fiesta ECOnetic gets an astonishing 65 mpg, but the carmaker can't afford to sell it in the U.S.



The ECOnetic will go on sale in Europe in November

by David Kiley


If ever there was a car made for the times, this would seem to be it: a sporty subcompact that seats five, offers a navigation system, and gets a whopping 65 miles to the gallon. Oh yes, and the car is made by Ford Motor (F), known widely for lumbering gas hogs.
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.
Automakers such as Volkswagen (VLKAY) and Mercedes-Benz (DAI) have predicted for years that a technology called "clean diesel" would overcome many Americans' antipathy to a fuel still often thought of as the smelly stuff that powers tractor trailers. Diesel vehicles now hitting the market with pollution-fighting technology are as clean or cleaner than gasoline and at least 30% more fuel-efficient.
Yet while half of all cars sold in Europe last year ran on diesel, the U.S. market remains relatively unfriendly to the fuel. Taxes aimed at commercial trucks mean diesel costs anywhere from 40 cents to $1 more per gallon than gasoline. Add to this the success of the Toyota Prius, and you can see why only 3% of cars in the U.S. use diesel. "Americans see hybrids as the darling," says Global Insight auto analyst Philip Gott, "and diesel as old-tech."
None of this is stopping European and Japanese automakers, which are betting they can jump-start the U.S. market with new diesel models. Mercedes-Benz by next year will have three cars it markets as "BlueTec." Even Nissan (NSANY) and Honda, which long opposed building diesel cars in Europe, plan to introduce them in the U.S. in 2010. But Ford, whose Fiesta ECOnetic compares favorably with European diesels, can't make a business case for bringing the car to the U.S.
TOO PRICEY TO IMPORT

First of all, the engines are built in Britain, so labor costs are high. Plus the pound remains stronger than the greenback. At prevailing exchange rates, the Fiesta ECOnetic would sell for about $25,700 in the U.S. By contrast, the Prius typically goes for about $24,000. A $1,300 tax deduction available to buyers of new diesel cars could bring the price of the Fiesta to around $24,400. But Ford doesn't believe it could charge enough to make money on an imported ECOnetic.
Ford plans to make a gas-powered version of the Fiesta in Mexico for the U.S. So why not manufacture diesel engines there, too? Building a plant would cost at least $350 million at a time when Ford has been burning through more than $1 billion a month in cash reserves. Besides, the automaker would have to produce at least 350,000 engines a year to make such a venture profitable. "We just don't think North and South America would buy that many diesel cars," says Fields.
The question, of course, is whether the U.S. ever will embrace diesel fuel and allow automakers to achieve sufficient scale to make money on such vehicles. California certified VW and Mercedes diesel cars earlier this year, after a four-year ban. James N. Hall, of auto researcher 293 Analysts, says that bellwether state and the Northeast remain "hostile to diesel." But the risk to Ford is that the fuel takes off, and the carmaker finds itself playing catch-up—despite having a serious diesel contender in its arsenal.
Kiley is a senior correspondent in BusinessWeek's Detroit bureau.


With logic like this, it's not hard to see why they are in the predicament that they're in. Tons of people have been dumping their gas hogs to buy cars that are more fuel efficent, but he doesn't think they'd buy a diesel powered car. Hell, if I could get 65 mpg I wouldn't care if it ran on dolphin fins and kitten blood, just make it available!
 

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God Bless America
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WTF!!!!!!!!!!!

Then build the Damn thing here!

If it's cheaper to build here, it a no brainer.

You can buy diesel on every corner now!

Somebody at the Glass House needs to Wake Up!
 

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And diesel prices suck! I am from a family of farmers, and everything on our farm was pretty much diesel. Up until a couple of years ago diesel was cheaper, after all it is pretty much trash fuel. Phuckin taxes. Oh well, my 01 4x4 Dodge Ram 2500 extended cab Cummins TD gets 19 mpg, how many gas pickups 4x4 3/4 tons get that?
 

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They're missing a great opportunity. Watch some Euro company thats big into diesels like VW come up with something similar and market it here and it will sell like hot cakes. Everybody will talk about how theyre such a great company being proactive and all and Ford will sit back and say "well we screwed that up".

If they had the right people marketing the cars it wouldn't matter what it ran on
 

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Amazing, seems the American gov has their mouths too full of foriegn cock to actually help out Americans.
 

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RIP Dave - YB will miss you
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American's by and large dont like diesel powered vehicles.I think it would be great to have a non hybrid simple 3-4 cylinder diesel with a 5sp that get's 65 mpg.

If someone would sell a car like that here I would buy one,wouldn't matter to me if it was foreign or domestic.
 

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...failure to communicate
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Maybe they should make diesel-electric hybrids instead of gas-electrics.

It will give the hybrid people another option and it will give everyone else a taste of the new, clean diesel technology.

Or is the short run time of a diesel in a hybrid configuration not as viable?
 

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Whats the typical life span of a small diesel engine like these in this topic? I know big truck diesels can hit 1 million miles easily but what about these small engines? I assume if taken care of the engine would far outlast the chassis
 

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I agree with building them over here in "America". Isn't ford an "American" auto maker. Like alot of other companies its cheaper to build over in foreign countries so they move shit over there. Well now our so called "American" vehicles are having shit made in foreign countries, doesn't sound so "American" to me. Its funny too, how people bash some foreign car companies because they say they aren't made in america. Got news for ya alot of Hondas and Toyotas are made here in America, but our Big Three are sourcing shit out to other countries. Doesn't sound very "American" to me. Build "American" autos in America and employ "American" workers, stop closing plants to move over seas. Just my opinion.:D
 

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@ 20k miles per year, 31 mpg vs 65mpg, Gas 3.59 vs Diesel 4.19 current prices here in maryland, Diesel saves 85 per month or 1026 per year.
 

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I agree with building them over here in "America". Isn't ford an "American" auto maker. Like alot of other companies its cheaper to build over in foreign countries so they move shit over there. Well now our so called "American" vehicles are having shit made in foreign countries, doesn't sound so "American" to me. Its funny too, how people bash some foreign car companies because they say they aren't made in america. Got news for ya alot of Hondas and Toyotas are made here in America, but our Big Three are sourcing shit out to other countries. Doesn't sound very "American" to me. Build "American" autos in America and employ "American" workers, stop closing plants to move over seas. Just my opinion.:D
Dude...you are misinformed bro...

Toyota and Honda still import A LOT of vehicles and their domestically assembled vehicle have 70-80% foreign content. You fell for the smoke screen.

GM/Ford/Chrysler use 80% DOMESTIC parts in their assembly plants.
 

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We will have GTDI here soon. Small displacement direct injection gasoline and turbo charging. Economy is supposed to be on par with diesel, but more power when you want it. Ford is calling it Eco Boost, but everyone is working on something similar.
 
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