Ford Focus Diesel by end of 2008
Ford Thailand is planning to bring a diesel version of its Focus with an automatic transmission to Thailand by the end of this year. Although the Focus is already available in Thailand with a diesel engine, it is only available with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Ford was testing the water in Thailand with the current limited run of diesel models, and with the price being on the high side, and with diesel prices on the rise, Ford might have to consider ways of bringing the Focus price into a more realistic bracket.
The THB 1.055 million price tag on the manual transmission Focus TDCi puts it a little above the top spec petrol focus, which has a automatic transmission with sequential-shift mode. The reason for this high price is due to the need for the 2.0 litre diesel engines to be shipped from Europe, along with the 6-speed manual transmissions.
Ford will really need to find ways to bring this price down, at least inline with the 2.0 petrol version. Although the diesel is more fuel efficient, the price difference between diesel fuel and E20 is currently over THB 6 per litre.
Currently the whole auto industry in Thailand seems to be on hold, waiting for the government to clarify policies, and get specific on details of the energy plan before making solid cash commitments to any particular alternative fuel.
Ford is no exception to this. And who could blame Ford for being cautious. Ford were one of the early proponents of the E20 policy, but were stung when the government delayed the introduction of their E20 excise tax reduction. Although the Thai Focus was always able to run on E20, Ford had to wait with everyone else to enjoy the tax benefit.
However, while Ford wait for the E85 and CNG policies to be ironed out, having a look at the diesel market might pay off.