SAE 2008 WORLD CONGRESS

Panel: Diesels could hit 20% of U.S. market by 2020

BorgWarner CEO Tim Manganello
UPDATED: 4/14/08 3:10 pm EDT DETROIT -- About 20 percent of the vehicles in the United States could run on diesel fuel by the end of the next decade, a panel of auto executives said Monday at the 2008 SAE World Congress.

Panelists also expect hybrid technologies to be in about 10 percent of vehicles by 2020, as consumers’ thirst for fuel-sipping vehicles continues.

The figures were suggested by BorgWarner CEO Tim Manganello. The other panelists, including Derrick Kuzak, Ford Motor Co’s product chief, and Ed Mantey, a Toyota engineering vice president, agreed with the forecast.

Manganello based his predictions on patterns in Europe, where consumers have long enjoyed diesel rides.

Europe: ‘A leading indicator’

“Europe is a leading indicator for powertrain technology,” Manganello said.

He also said he expects the number of gasoline engines equipped with turbochargers to double by 2013.

Meanwhile, Magna International Inc. co-CEO Don Walker suggested that there could be global annual sales of 1.7 million hybrid vehicles by 2013, 765,000 of them in the United States.

The U.S. market is picking up dramatically. Last year, 338,851 hybrids were sold in the United States, up 34.5 percent from 251,870 in 2006.

Walker said a key component of the auto industry’s response to the green market and its regulatory demands is the increased use of global platforms.

At the same time, Walker said, “suppliers have to be able to respond.” That means suppliers must expand globally to bring engineering and manufacturing operations close to where they are needed.

Kuzak: ‘We were too complex'

Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of product development, highlighted the automaker’s plans to realign its product development with a global approach under its “One Ford” plan.

Ford announced the initiative involving its product development and purchasing operations this month.

“We were too complex,” Kuzak said. “Our processes were too complex; accountability was unclear, and we were difficult to work with” with all of Ford’s partners.

Kuzak said the plan simplifies development by creating a single “global DNA” for all Ford vehicles and eases work with its supply base.

Mantey, Toyota’s vice president for engineering design at the company’s North American technical center in Ann Arbor, Mich., said collaboration in the vehicle development process is essential.

He said there must be constant interaction between automakers and their suppliers through every stage of development.

You can reach Ryan Beene at autonews@crain.com

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