GAH! Tell me the reason why companies like Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have decided to NOT work on announced diesel engines? Yes, yes, I know cash is tight and the future for car sales don’t look all that hot, but still. No, I’m not saying the future is diesel, but if you got eyes it’s pretty easy to see that diesel engines will play a bigger part in the cars we see rolling around our streets than they have in the past.
So what is this, a pragmatic cost cutting money saving move, or a dumb move on the part of hidebound industry giants?
The official reasons are given as being “cost and perception issues”, and sure, those sound fine. I can see the money aspect, and sure, Americans have had a not so welcoming view of diesels in their cars for some time. But I also have to say that citing ” perception issues” is a pretty lame excuse. Don’t these automakers have marketing departments? C’mon, you guys sold huge SUVs to soccer moms as the “must have” way to take your kids to school, you can’t market diesels effectively in this country? Weak, I say, weak.
As a side note, I can see why Toyota might back off. After all, they are gaining the reputation for being THE hybrid out there the way Kleenex is now a generic term for facial tissue or Xerox is for photocopy. (BTW, I had a friend that worked for Xerox, and let me tell you, you NEVER want to utter the phrase, “I’ll go Xerox that for you” in a company meeting there. Poor guy nearly got fired on the spot.)
The other car manufacturers say they simply need more justification as to the cost and complexity of diesels in order to make the case for consumers to spend more for pricier diesel models.
Also, it would seem that the numbers generated for diesels in the EPA and CAFE are apparently at odds. For the EPA, diesels win out in MPG figures over gas burners. But for CAFE has differing fuel mileage equations that make gas-hybrids appear better than diesels, and CAFE is something that all automakers will be worrying about more and more, so that means diesels will get slighted.
Seems to me that a re-jiggering of EPA vs. CAFE numbers is in order.
Photo from Flickr user