TIBOR FARAGO, Zurich, Switzerland. The writer is a sales manager for a Tier 2 supplier of precision metal components for fuel-injection and engine-control systems.
A European view of diesels, hybrids
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To the Editor:
In response to Keith Crain's March 6 column ("In Europe it's diesels, not hybrids"), let me add my perspective as a car buyer on living and driving in Europe.
Popular SUVs here are the BMW 3-liter diesel, the Mercedes Benz ML 320 CDi (also a diesel) and the Volvo X90 D5 (diesel). They are priced about the same.
Compare them to the much more cramped Lexus RX 400h, which is typically priced around 25 percent more.
Quite honestly, the prestige and resale value of a BMW or Mercedes prohibits spending 25 percent more for a vehicle that claims to be more efficient yet still loses on fuel consumption comparison in every magazine test.
In my humble opinion, Toyota (and the others) must develop a more efficient package that at least meets the fuel consumption of a modern particulate filter-equipped diesel engine and bring the price down, say, to Opel or Mitsubishi levels. Also, torque must be upgraded.
Amazingly, the Lexus IS 220 diesel is about 10 percent cheaper than the similarly equipped BMW 320d, and, as I hear it, is the most popular Lexus model.
Hybrids are coming, and they will definitely be the
step before fuel cell vehicles, but the automakers
have to make them much more price competitive and efficient. Teaming an electric engine with a 2-liter diesel would win my vote (and money) for sure.
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