Ford has remained stubbornly defiant in its insistence that the American market isn’t receptive to diesel engines, but Europe is another matter entirely. Ford is investing an additional $306 million into its 100% wind-powered Dagenham factory in the U.K. to produce a new generation of diesel engines codenamed Panther destined for light commercial vehicles and passenger cars, reports Green Car Congress.
The new low-carbon 2.0 liter diesel engines follows a $462 million investment supported by the U.K. government, with the goal of introducing the engine in globally-available commercial vehicles by 2016, with production capacity of 350,000 units initially. The following year the motor will be tweaked for passenger car production, adding an additional 150,000 units of production annually for total capacity of 500,000 units. Though Ford hasn’t come out and said it, most of these engines probably won’t ever leave Europe; the Blue Oval hasn’t shown any indication to start offering its excellent portfolio of diesel engines in America.
Competitors like the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel have been in high demand while GM plans to offer diesels in its mid size truck offerings. It’s not that the EcoBoost engines aren’t great, but the extra efficiency offered by diesel motors more than offsets the higher cost over the often-long lifetime of pickup trucks.
Ford’s answer could be a compact unibody-based pickup, but unfortunately the Blue Oval doesn’t think diesels have a place in its American lineup. Instead it’s focused on EcoBoost and plug-in hybrids as a means to meet fuel economy standards. As great as that might be, I can’t help but feel they’re wrong for denying U.S. customers these coveted diesel motors.