Want to buy a diesel-powered compact sedan or station wagon in the U.S.? You’ve got some options today, including the VW TDI models, Audi’s A3 TDI and (soon) the Chevy Cruze diesel. If you’re holding your breath waiting for Ford to release a diesel powered Fiesta, Focus or Fusion, we can offer this sage advice: don’t. Ford has no immediate plans to bring diesel into the United States, despite offering turbodiesel engines nearly everywhere else in the world. In fact, the new Ranger pickup is a good example of a global, diesel powered vehicle that we’re not getting on this side of the pond.
Why the lack of love for those with a passion for oil-burners in the US of A? Ford’s Dan Kapp, director of powertrain research, sums it up with one word: cost. Diesel engines typically add 10 to 15 percent to a vehicles cost, and in the U.S., diesel fuel is usually priced on par with premium unleaded. Even diesel’s superior fuel economy can’t always produce a payback that justifies the higher price of admission. Diesel engines are typically less stressed than their gasoline-burning counterparts, but selling an engine that will last 200,000 miles versus one that may only go 100,000 miles isn’t an easy prospect.
There’s another reason that Ford won’t admit to: certifying a diesel engine for use in the United States is expensive, since we currently have the strictest diesel passenger car emission standards in the world. If you can’t charge a significantly higher price for a diesel engine option in the U.S., going though the motions of having it certified is a losing proposition.
To be fair, Ford doesn’t need diesels in the U.S., because they’re doing just fine with their small-displacement EcoBoost engines. I’d be really surprised to see Ford change their position on diesels, even when the Euro 6 emission standards take hold in 2014. If you want an oil burner, don’t look to ford for answers any time soon.