Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: San Francisco, East Bay
U.S. Alone in World Auto Market
The affable British-born president of Ford Motor Company says that the U.S. market is growing ever more distant from the auto industry in the rest of the world. Speaking to a small group of media during a recent trip to Los Angeles, Nick Scheele told reporters that "We've got two different global markets - the U.S. and the rest of the world…Even Canada and Mexico are becoming more like Europe in their choice of vehicles." Americans are the only ones wanting big, heavy vehicles while not worrying about fuel economy, placing the U.S. in a minority position, Scheele added. The discussion with reporters revolved around the environment, fuel economy and emissions. Scheele believes hydrogen-powered fuel cells are the only feasible alternative to the internal-combustion engine currently in the pipeline. "But it's still 15 to 20 years from being practical. Hybrid is a step on the way because the control systems are similar, although they have turned out to be more complex to engineer than expected." Scheele thinks diesels are a better solution than hybrids for large trucks, SUVs and luxury cars, as "you cannot get a big enough battery to provide the power needed."
While being a firm believer in addressing environmental issues Scheele, says it's got to be debated without emotion. He points out that a PZEV Focus "can be driven coast to coast and produce less emissions than mowing a lawn."
Scheele is opposed to CAFE, believing it "is one of the most perverse pieces of legislation ever. It says people will not take responsibility for their own actions." Scheele says he wishes the government had done the obvious and taxed fuel, which would have been the better way of changing fuel consumption. "If there had been no CAFE there would be less trucks being sold and overall fuel economy would be better." He likens CAFE to prohibition - trying to force a remedy on others. -John Rettie
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