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The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic gets 65 MPG, but will not be sold in the USA.

Discussion in 'Auto Industry News' started by BrooklynBay, September 22, 2008.

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  1. BrooklynBay

    BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    http://autos.aol.com/article/general/v2/_a/65-mpg-ford-fiesta/20080919094409990002

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    65 MPG Ford You Can't Buy

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

    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.

    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 and Honda Motor 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 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% 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 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.
     
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  3. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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    I think Ford better get a high mileage car on the market soon. Gas hit > $4.60 here in Calif this summer before it finally dropped again. It is now > $3.60.

    I bet it hits $5 / gal next summer. Who wants to bet it doesn't?
     
  4. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    Drill here and drill now. Don't start five years from now when gas reaches $5-6 per gallon. Why does every government decision happen after a crisis? What's wrong with doing the right thing, because it's the right thing to do?
     
  5. BrooklynBay

    BrooklynBay Moderator & long time member. Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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  6. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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    Plug in hybrid seems like the way to go in the short term (next 5 - 10 years). Some of those cars should be available by 2010 as production models.

    Re: Drilling as a way of lowering the price of oil:

    Perhaps it will have an effect on the speculators running up the futures market, but there is a reason that we still have oil in the ground - it was deemed too expensive to extract compared to other sources (e.g. Saudi Arabia, et. al.). So we have used up most of the inexpensive oil now. I don't think you should expect the price of oil to drop much because it will be increasingly expensive to get it out of the ground in the future whether here in the US or foreign sources.

    Also, with China and India becoming industrial giants, their demand for oil will start to drive up the price as well.

    Long term, we have to break the addiction before the drug kills our economy.
     
  7. briwayjones

    briwayjones Manual Master

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    Because the tree huggers are doing their best to keep it from happening. And so far they have been the louder squeaky wheel.
     
  8. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    The point is that we have been giving our money to countries who use that money against us. It supports terrorism and competition to businesses here. We would have been much better off if we had bought as little as possible from outside sources, and developed better fuels long ago.

    It's too late to go back and correct those mistakes, but continuing them is extremely unwise. The government doesn't care more about that than they do about politics. Thus we are forced to wait on the election, then the winner will magically support drilling more here.

    I don't care about politics, I care about the country and what is best for us. We need to use our resources and stop supporting enemies. We can develop new fuel sources, but it will take many many years to do that. There is not a solution yet, sugar cane fuel is the best existing fuel at the moment. Brazil has been working on it since the 70's. We should drill here now, every day of delay is not wise.
     
  9. techieman33

    techieman33 Explorer Addict

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    There are already countless wells all over the country that have been drilled and capped off just waiting for us to suck the oil out. Pressuring for more drilling is just a land grab by the big oil companies. And the speculation wouldn't have been a problem if Phil Gramm (now a McCain advisor) hadn't created the Enron Loophole.
     
  10. briwayjones

    briwayjones Manual Master

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    Not to mention that we have vast amounts of natural gas in this country and the conversion wouldn't really be that difficult I don't think.
     
  11. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    Agreed, and many talk show hosts are correct in saying that all of the socialist people have embraced global warming(environmentalists). People who hate capitalism have found a home among the global warming crowd. By stopping the use of oil they see that as a way to stop capitalism, which depends on oil.
     
  12. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    The short term answer is oil, only oil can support our current fuel needs. How we work that out is fair to debate, new laws, jail people, new taxes, new tax incentives etc. The conclusion is always the same. Nothing can right now replace the fuel that's in 99% of all vehicles on our roads. We need to stop buying that fuel from outside sources, and that leaves us once source, our oil. Let's get started with it and worry about the details after we get started.
     
  13. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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    The short term answer is conservation: driving vehicles that don't suck down as much fuel. Ford (and others) need to get those cars on the market. Toyota and Honda are way ahead on this. Ford better get its ass in gear.

    The somewhat longer term answer is developing more sources. But drilling today doesn't mean the gas will be at the pump today or even tomorrow. It takes time for that gas to make it to the pump.

    The long term solution is to stop (or drastically curtail) use of oil as a means of propelling our vehicles. Even if there was an unlimited supply of oil, it still wouldn't be a smart thing to do because:

    a) burning it in our cars means we won't have as much available for other uses (i.e. plastics, syn rubber, textiles, etc.) So the cost of all those things will go up as oil gets more expensive

    b) we are polluting the air we breathe. I suggest a road trip to LA in the summer if you don't believe this is true. People are not meant to breathe air that you can't see through

    c) we are forced to buy oil from people who dislike us and want to eliminate us. Even if we bring all of the available oil offshore and in the ground in the US, many believe that this will not be enough to offset all of the foreign oil that we use today.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/otheranalysis/ongr.html

    Note that I make no reference to global warming (aka climate change) in the above points.
     
  14. CDW6212R

    CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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    None of that is short term, or even five years term from now. Nothing you mentioned will have any appreciable affect on the foreign oil we will buy in the next five years. The only thing which can greatly reduce our use of foreign oil is to replace it with our own oil.

    All experts that claim that our oil is not needed or shall not be enough are in that global warming camp. If you dig into their background you will discover that their motives are not to help our country, but to stop us.
     
  15. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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    The link I posted above is from the DOE. They give no opinion on whether the oil is needed or not; their analysis says that the oil from offshore drilling will increase the oil available by an "insignificant" amount.

    Using less oil would be the most effective way of importing less oil. We do not have enough available from domestic sources to replace the imported oil we are using.
     
  16. briwayjones

    briwayjones Manual Master

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    It doesn't matter if you drive a vehicle that gets 100MPG gas isn't going to cost any less per gallon. Yes you will be spending more money because of better efficiency but you're still going to be paying the same amount to foreign countries that hate us.

    I agree that the only short term answer to cheaper gas is self sufficiency. The long term solutions is alternative fuels. But the only short term answer is to be self sufficient.
     
  17. briwayjones

    briwayjones Manual Master

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    No? We have much more oil than most people realize I think. We likely have more oil here than what is left in the ground in Saudi Arabia.

    Off shore drilling isn't the only place we have oil in this country. We have vast reserves in Alaska we need to tap.
     
  18. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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    Assuming that you are driving the same number of miles, it will matter a great deal. You will buy less gas.

    Say for example you drive a Ford Explorer that gets 15 mpg. And you drive 15,000 miles per year. That would be 1,000 gals of gas. And you replace it with a Prius that gets 45 mpg (actually 48, but lets use 45). That would be 333 gals of gas (1/3 the amount). So you are now buying 1/3 as much gas.

    What if a bunch of people did this? Not everyone needs to buy a Prius, buy a Civic or a Focus or whatever. We would use less gas, and the price would come down.

    You can keep your Explorer (I did) but you won't drive it as much when gas is $4 or $5 / gal and you have a car that gets 2 or 3x the mileage.
     
  19. techieman33

    techieman33 Explorer Addict

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    do you really think that oil from America would be cheaper? That's the reason we a lot of the already drilled wells aren't pumping, it's still cheaper to get the oil from the middle east
     
  20. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human-Animal Hybrid

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    I don't know if this is true or not, but it brings us back to my original point:

    Its gonna cost more to develop these sources. In Saudi Arabia, the oil was very easy to extract, so it was cheap. If you go up to Alaska, its gonna cost more money (cold conditions, isolated from civilization, cost of transporting it), so don't expect a big drop in prices.

    And I still think we need to get off mainlining oil for the other reasons stated above.
     
  21. JDraper

    JDraper Somewhat Functional Moderator Emeritus

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    Focus doesn't do too bad. We're AVERAGING over 35mpg with our '08 Focus in combined city/highway driving. Not bad for a $16k car that is actually 1" longer than my '94 Explorer (175" for the Focus vs. 174" for the Explorer Sport).
     

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