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Ford to give petrol boost to Econetic

Date: 31 July 2008   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

De Waard

Ford plans to offer cheaper, smaller petrol engine counterparts to its current diesel Econetic range by the end of the decade, according to UK managing director, Roelant de Waard.

Until now lower CO2 sub-brand models have depended on diesel engines but Ford's Eco-boost technology, due to market in the US next year, is also effective in cutting emission levels.

De Waard said: "By using Eco-boost approach it will provide a petrol option for lower CO2 and accepting the current premium on diesel it would require lower mileages to claw back any incremental purchase price."

A Ford spokesman said that Eco-boost, due to be applied in a V6, 3.5-litre power unit for US brand Lincoln and Ford models next year, combined turbocharging, direct injection and twin independent variable valve timing.

In Europe the accent would be on cleaner, smaller capacity four-cylinder engines, arguably from 1.4-litres upwards, with power outputs of 120PS and above.

Ford could not provide CO2 figures for the American V6 engine, nor say when the new Eco-boost power units would reach the UK but it is believed that the smaller modular units should be on the market within two years.

The company has no plans to revamp its Mondeo to counter Vauxhall's new Insignia but when asked about any tactical responses, De Waard said: "I won't spell out actions we are planning. I would like the competition to slowly figure it out themselves.

"We continue to sell higher equipment level vehicles to maintain tremendous RV progress. We limit short cycle sales while others still have to demonstrate they are adopting a similar strategy."

Meanwhile, he said the new Ka, due to debut at October's Paris show, will be "distinctly Ford" in terms of its "bespoke styling, interiors, engine and chassis tuning" despite sharing its platform and Polish production facility with Fiat's 500.