Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford says the auto maker has diesel engines it “easily” could bring to the U.S., but that won't happen until consumers embrace the technology and a more robust infrastructure develops.

Ford Motor Co. is the second-largest (diesel-engine) producer in Europe,” he says during a panel discussion at the National Summit in Detroit. “So it's not like it's not part of the Ford family.

“There just isn't yet the diesel infrastructure (in the U.S.) for us to invest heavily,” Bill Ford says. “Should that develop, we're all set. It would be easy for us to bring diesel technology here.”

Instead, Ford has chosen to pull the “best pieces” of its diesel technology in Europe and put them in a gasoline-fueled engine for the U.S. called EcoBoost, combining direct-injection with turbocharging for better fuel economy.

“It's ubiquitous and it's affordable,” Bill Ford says. And that's two things diesel is not, he adds. The fuel can cost up to $0.40 more per gallon than gasoline, the technology adds up to $3,000 to vehicle sticker prices, and diesel is not available at every filling station.

Bill Ford's remarks run counter to those of his fellow panelists, who sit squarely in the camp of diesel advocates.

Tim Manganello, chairman and CEO of BorgWarner Inc., notes diesel engines provide 30% better fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts, as well as 25% fewer emissions and 50% greater torque.

BMW AG, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG all sell diesels in the U.S., and all three have won Ward's 10 Best Engines nods.

Peter Marks, chairman, president and CEO of Robert Bosch LLC, says Ford, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC must help speed diesel proliferation.

“Auto makers must adopt diesels to make 35.5 mpg (6.6 L/100 km),” he says, referring to the new fuel economy bogey set by the Obama Admin.