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PSA Chairman: Mainly Looking to Diesels and Diesel Hybrids for the Fuel-Efficient Future

In remarks to the media at the Frankfurt IAA, Jean-Martin Folz, Chairman of PSA Peugeot Citroën, discussed the increasing importance of fuel-efficient vehicles to the auto industry, and outlined his company’s short- and medium-term approaches in that area.

PSA Peugeot Citroën is Western Europe’s second-largest carmaker, with a marketshare of 14.5%. The company holds a 32% market share in the segment of vehicles emitting fewer than 120 g/km CO2, and it sells more than 60% of the cars that emit fewer than 110 g/km. (Not that these are large percentages in the context of the overall market.)

Our fourth and final advantage is our leadership in fuel-efficient vehicles, which today is a key driver of future growth.

The current rise in oil prices is clearly a major challenge for the world’s economies and in particular for the automobile industry. As a result of dramatic increases in the price of a barrel of crude, customers are expected to take a harder look at their car’s fuel efficiency. At PSA Peugeot Citroën, our ongoing strategic focus in recent years has been to find solutions to reduce consumption that are affordable to as many consumers as possible.

That’s why we feel we’re especially well equipped to confront the current crisis.

PSA has a four-part approach to delivering continued decreases in fuel consumption.

  • Ongoing development of the diesel engine. “Each time a gasoline engine is replaced by a diesel engine, consumption at equivalent performance is reduced by 20%.”

  • Revitalization of its gasoline engine lineup in partnership with BMW.

  • Encouraging the use of biofuels—especially, given the company’s diesel focus, biodiesel.

  • Diesel hybrids. The company introduced the Citroën C3 Stop & Start last year as a first step in hybridization, and is currently working on a hybrid solution with the development of a very fuel-efficient hybrid diesel/electric car.

For PSA, hybrids currently only make sense in a diesel application, not in a gasoline application.

I feel we should be clear that hybridization is interesting from a technological perspective, but it is and will remain very expensive, so its environmental benefits need to be studied closely.

If hybridization involves combining a gasoline and an electric engine, the benefits are comparable to those provided by substituting diesel engines for gasoline engines, except that one of these solutions is much less costly than the other. That’s why I believe there is no real advantage in developing hybrid gasoline engines in those parts of the world where diesel engines are well established. Only a hybrid diesel engine is attractive because it offers both benefits.

PSA Peugeot Citroën has tripled its sales and its net income since 1998, it has no debt, and it is expanding rapidly in China and Latin America. This year, the company expects to sell one million vehicles outside of Europe for the first time.



If Bush doesn't push back the introduction date of ULSD fuel in the US, then we'll hopefully see a range of new diesel engine options available to us in the next couple years. After living a three years with the torque and refinement of my 2001 Golf TDI, a 7+ year old diesel design, I see no reason to ever go back to a gasoline equipped vehicle. I'm regularly achieving 50 mpg on 100% soy-based biodiesel - better than many of the bleeding edge fossil fuel hybrids for sale here. It should only get better once the hybrid designs work their way into diesel passenger cars.

Hopefully gas will hit a sustained $4+/gallon here, so that people crawl out of their gas hogs and start considering fuel efficient vehicles.



This week the 2nd person that I know went out and got a TDI (I got mine last summer). Those things are getting to be quite popular.

One positive effect of the high fuel prices is that automakers may finally give up on this nonsense of building cars that are overpowered and have crummy mileage.


One advantage of the diesel-hybrid is that peak and surge power demands can be handled by the battery, allowing the diesel to run at a lower fuel/air ratio; running at the maximum-power limit tends to create pockets of incompletely burned fuel and emit particulates, so letting the electrics provide the oomph while the turbocharger spools up will improve the emissions quite a bit.

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