Home / Auto News / News article: Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Myths Explained by Automaker - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Apr 26 2012, 2:45 PM

A battle that almost seems to have fought it self, selling diesel cars in the U.S. used to be little more than a fool’s errand for most automakers, but that is quickly changing with companies competing to catch up with the trend.

“Small displacement diesel engines could fill an important niche in Chevrolet’s diverse four-cylinder lineup,” said Mike Weidman, Cruze Marketing Manager. “We recognize this technology’s considerable appeal, particularly with young male car buyers, and we are ready to win them over with quality, torque and fuel economy.”

German companies like Volkswagen long offered diesel options to North American consumers, but oil-burners were otherwise scarce outside the heavy duty truck market. Rising gas prices and the rush toward more efficient cars is finally changing consumer opinion, but Chevrolet isn’t convinced that buyers are educated enough on Diesels.

To combat that, the automaker is trying to debunk five myths about diesels that it says are common misconceptions in advance of the diesel Chevrolet Cruze coming to the American market next year. Deciding to offer the globally-marketed sedan in diesel form to American consumers is a big change for the brand that signals a shift in market preference. Diesel sales jumped 35 percent in this year’s first quarter, according to Chevrolet.

“Consumers realize that today’s diesel cars are cleaner, less noisy and faster than they used to be, and have a relatively lower cost of entry than some hybrids and EVs,” said Michael Omotoso, powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive. “Consumers also are more receptive to diesel fuel because of $4 per gallon gasoline.”

The myths, Chevrolet’s rebuttal and our own:

“Diesels are dirty — Advanced emissions-scrubbing technologies make today’s diesels run clean.” It’s true that modern diesel engines are much cleaner than they used to be, but they still release emissions, so calling them clean is slightly misleading.

“Diesels are rough-running — Precisely controlled common rail direct-injection helps today’s diesels run smoothly.” This is true, modern diesel engines are smooth and offer such high torque numbers that they can be surprisingly entertaining from a stop light.

“Diesels are loud — Pilot injection on today’s diesels reduces the combustion pressure spikes that made older diesels ‘rattle.’” It’s a fact, but it’s also true that diesels are still louder than gas cars.

“Diesels don’t start in cold weather — Advanced fuel systems and glow plug control enable today’s diesels to start even on very cold days.” It’s impossible to argue with that. Gasoline engines don’t really have it much easier than diesels anymore.

“Diesel fuel is hard to find — About half of U.S. service stations offer diesel and OnStar can help you find them.” Take the marketing spin out, and you’ve got a totally different message. Only half of service stations carry fuel for your car, and you might need OnStar to help find them.

  • Kidyke

    I come from a GM family and I currently own a VW Jetta TDi. I bought it even though I would not be allowed to park it in the driveway when I visit home. If GM had offered the Cruze in a diesel when I bought my Jetta, it would have been a no-brainer I would be driving a Cruze now. As for my Jetta, it is more powerful than the gas model, I get close to 50 MPG on the highway, it is not loud or emits noxious fumes. And diesel fuel is extremely easy to find! Yes Detroit screwed up with the 80′s deisel, but diesel technology is so much better now.

  • Truckguy

    Lots of people in the US want good diesels cars like they have in Europe.  They just don’t want more of the crap US automakers made a few years ago.  I have been waiting for years for a good diesel car to go with my diesel pickup truck.  No VW dealer close enough.  

  • Michael Worczak

    Same old story here. People going elsewhere to get what they want….a local dealer has a nice Jetta TDI with 5 sp manual..I am supposed to wait for another few years for the giant to put the diesel Cruze into production or go ahead and me un-american?? Or else GM gets a great car with a great feature (like the 08-11 Malibu interior) but can’t leave it alone and needs to have it snazzed up by their token “stylists”. They should take that Malibu interior and put it in the automotive hall of fame. Anyhow, how about a small diesel for the Ford Transit Connect? The same kind of thinking always comes up…one step behind the crowd. Now they’ve got a chance to do a slam dunk. That Cruze is a very nice car, and it deserves more. I think a nice diesel in it would be a game-changer, but why does it have to wait years???

  • Mworczak

    I totally agree with you, I am also from a GM family and this has always been the story. In the early 70s I wanted a cheap sporty sedan and had to go elsewhere (no, I saw how shoddy the Vega was and refused to go there). Finally they lured me back with the EXCEPTIONAL Malibu- what a car! Silent as an assassin, comfortable, almost Mercedes-feel… Anyhow, I feel the same way. The local Jetta for sale is tempting me but my UAW relatives are there ready to pounce on me if I buy “foreign”, even though they buy BMW motorcycles. What choices does a person have that wants a sedan with a manual transmission, but not quite a BMW level??? The choices are VW or Honda. That’s it. Anyhow, at least with the Malibu they revealed that if they got their best people together they could do a good car, and they did. Now they are introducing a new interior and are adding the Buick “swoop” to the rear fender, just on cue, as feared and expected. Dumming the product down to the consumer. I have driven the Cruze and it has the same personality as the Malibu, and I am glad to see GM has enough sense to keep a common thread between their cars- namely, they feel larger, quieter, and more substantial than their competition. To me that is an advantage and I hope they have enough sense to stay with it, instead to listening to corporate people who got their promotions through other means than merit or being car people.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=34304357 Ryan Rupp

    My wrx comes with manual only :)

    Test drove a regular cruze for the fiance’ and I was actually impressed with how it drove (other than the hurky auto transmission).

  • slingshot

    Diesel fuel doesn’t “phase separate” like that ethanol blended crap in gas engines that our legislature has pushed on us with farm subsidies.  That alone should be enough to flip consumers to diesel if they had any knowledge of the internal combustion engine.  But the general public is “out to lunch”.  Europeans are more performance oriented and because of fuel costs there prefer diesels which give them more performance and fuel economy in a small package in their tightly defined cities and urban areas.