They say only 3% of cars sold in the US are diesels. But did it occur to them that more people would likely buy a diesel if more models were offered? Currently only VW and Mercedes Benz offer a few diesel models.
My guess is that US car buyers wouldn't care if the Fiesta were diesel if they knew they could get 65 miles per gallon.
Americans are slowly adjusting to the reality that we can't rely solely on gasoline powered vehicles if we want to be competitive in the world marketplace and protect the environment. Unfortunately our government seems to feel the answer is simply to drill for more oil. We need a variety of fuel choices, which will make them competitive with each other and reduce unit cost, as well as reduce environmental damage.
Ford Won't Sell 65-MPG Fiesta in US
By DAVID KILEY, BusinessWeek.com
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, known widely for lumbering gas hogs.
"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 and Mercedes-Benz 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 percent more fuel-efficient.
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.
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.