The Chevrolet Cruze Diesel made a nice dent in the European, Asian, African, and South American markets last year selling 33,000 units. Now, the popular diesel option will make its way into the U.S., trying to ride on the success wave it is already experiencing worldwide.
The diesel engine that will power the Cruze is being developed at GM’s design center in Torino, Italy, with input coming daily from the GM engineers in Pontiac, Michigan. A truly global design team, GM engineers in Russelsheim, Germany are also working on building some specialized components for the engine like the accessory drive and acoustic cover.
The U.S. market has a different way of looking at diesels, with the notion that diesel motors are only meant for big rigs and tractors. The global design approach will help the new diesel powertrain excel in the American market says GM, as the Europeans know how to build a great diesel engine, and the Americans know how it needs to look, sound and smell to appeal to the U.S. consumer.
“The market for diesel cars in the U.S. is small at present, but is expected to grow due to Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements and expected increases in gas prices,” said Mike Omotoso, a powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive. “So far, the German automakers haven’t had any diesel car competition in North America. GM could do well with it, particularly with younger buyers who don’t have the old prejudices against diesel.”
The diesel Cruze will be available in 2013, and will be an interesting venture for GM, being the first of the big three to offer a diesel option in the USA in a family sedan. “In terms of outward appearances, the difference between the diesel and gasoline engine is going to be difficult to discern,” says Mike Siegrist, 2.0L diesel assistant chief engineer.
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