Who can forget when Bill Ford explained during the great restructuring last year that his company had traditionally sold low quality cars to Americans but high quality to Europeans. He said they thought there was no market for quality cars in America until after the crisis they noticed foreign brands outselling theirs.
The European Focus will be their first step to change this, introducing a quality compact car as detailed by Wired in their “Big Bet on Small Cars” article. Naturally, I expect they will not introduce the diesel Focus in America. Why do they bet on small cars instead of efficient cars?
Mercedes has been working on the holy grail of cool engine efficiency technology: aerodynamic diesel-hybrids built out of Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS). The new E300 mercedes gets 52mpg (4.5 l/100km). Once again, only available outside America.
There seems to be a leadership gap in the US as conservative market followers dominate the auto industry…so sad that the executive that brought the Prius to America died. He might have been in a position to really speed up innovation and competition. It was a leading design when it was introduced, primarily as it proved there was pent-up market demand, but the Prius is too weak and compact to make sense in the American market of road-trips and hauling cargo.
Ford should take the 500/Taurus and make a high-performance diesel option to compete with the Audi and Mercedes variants. It also should bring the EuroFocus diesel and go hybrid with it by 2012.