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Diesel deliberations on Ford Territory

Jaguar territory: Jaguar’s AJD-V6 engine could be employed in the Ford Territory.

Ford investigates Jaguar’s stonking new turbo-diesel for its popular Territory

22 Oct 2004

THE prospects of Australia’s favourite SUV gaining turbo-diesel performance appear to be gathering momentum, with news that Ford Australia plans to evaluate Jaguar’s AJD-V6 for use in its Territory SUV.

Developed in conjunction with the PSA Peugeot-Citroen group, Jaguar’s twin-turbo version of the 2.7-litre common-rail, direct-injection 24-valve V6 – which is expected to appear in Australian S-Types during the third quarter of 2005 – produces 153kW and a towering 435Nm of torque. The same engine will become available in Peugeot’s new 407 sedan and wagon by the end of next year.

Jaguar Australia general manager David Blackhall confirmed at the facelifted S-Type launch last week that an example of the S-Type oil-burner, which went on sale in Europe in June, will be sold to Ford Australia following the completion of Jaguar’s own local evaluation program.

But it is unclear whether a diesel Territory, if produced, would be powered by the Jaguar’s AJD-V6, which produces more torque than S-Type’s 4.2-litre AJ-V8 (with 80 per cent of it available from 1500rpm yet is 47 per cent more economical) – or if it will employ the simpler, cheaper single-turbo version set to appear here by March next year in Land Rover’s new Discovery 3.

In the all-wheel drive Discovery TDV6 application, the engine still produces 140kW at 4000rpm and an impressive 445kW at just 1900rpm. Weighing in at a heftier 2494kg (2504kg auto), it accelerates to 100km/h in a claimed 11.5 seconds (12.8 auto).

Ironically, in Discovery 3, the TDV6 is mated to either a ZF adaptive six-speed semi-automatic transmission labelled 6HP26, or the Aisin-built six-speed manual similar to that found in selected Holden VZ Commodores.

Ford Australia product development chief Trevor Worthington confirmed a diesel Territory was on Ford’s long-term agenda, but stressed the Blue Oval had not even started down the oil-burner development track yet.

Right now there is not enough demand to justify the cost of developing and validating a diesel engine option for Territory

"We’ve always said it’s inevitable that at some point diesel will become viable at the value end of the car market," he said.

"Right now it’s making inroads at the sophisticated, top end of the market where there’s less price sensitivity and residual value issues. It’s more about exclusivity rather than how long it will take to pay it back." Mr Worthington said that right now there was not enough demand to justify the cost of developing and validating a diesel engine option for Territory, which would come at a price premium of between $5000 and $7000.

"Right now diesel costs more than petrol in most places, so there’s no real advantage. People hate dirty bowser nozzles so the infrastructure and acceptance of diesel needs to improve," he said.

"There might be an argument about (extended) range, so for some people that’s an advantage, and as the uptake of diesel increases and more of them are manufactured the cheaper they will become to produce.

"Right now not enough people will pay the premium. We’re not in a position to do all the engineering work we’d like to, so we must pick the ones that are viable – and we’ve always said if something’s not working then we’d address that.

"Diesel technology is not worth the engineering and validation effort right now, but that’s not to say it won’t change." Mr Worthington said he was aware of both the twin-turbo AJD-V6 and single-turbo TDV6 engines currently powering Ford-owned brands Jaguar and Land Rover respectively, but that his investigations had not extended beyond that.

"I’m aware of the engines. And the diesel engine family available within the Ford world seems like an obvious place to start, especially if validation work and the like has been done, because it just leaves application work (for Territory)," he said.

"But you probably know more about them than I do at the moment." Mr Worthington said future engine technology for Territory – including the XR6’s popular 240kW 4.0-litre turbocharged six and Ford’s 5.4-litre V8 – would be dictated by consumer demand and engineering capacity, rather than a desire to launch new engines with model updates.

"Facelift time is not the prime dictator," he said.

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