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Balance of power tipping towards petrol: Ford

Date: 27 April 2010   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Ford of Britain boss Nigel Sharp

Ford of Britain boss Nigel Sharp believes the "balance of power" has started to move back towards petrol from diesel with fleets being particularly influential in responding to cost of ownership and tax issues.

When asked if a new generation of smaller, more efficient turbocharged petrol engines would eclipse diesels, which last year accounted for half of overall Ford sales, Sharp said: "Diesel is beginning to slip and that shift in the balance of power is already underway."

He added: "With downsizing, which is applying to fleet as much as retail business, the payback distances needed to recoup extra diesel prices are much longer. Euro6 will present major technological and cost challenges for diesels and engines like our EcoBoost petrol units deliver up to 20% greater fuel economy and 15% lower emissions than conventional petrol engines, courtesy of greater efficiency and lower weight.

"Take all these factors into account plus moves towards higher taxation for diesels and you should see a swing back to petrol. EcoBoost and equivalent petrol engines will be quite a revolution in terms of how they alter the market."

Sharp, who confessed to "being one of the few people in my office to drive petroll", said: "One of the most important factors will be down to when fleets start changing, which in turn depends on cost of ownership and running costs plus taxation policy."