Many automakers interested in getting into the U.S. diesel market were stumped on how Volkswagen managed to pass emissions tests in the state of California. General Motors, along with Mazda and Honda, were all interested in getting into the diesel business in the U.S. and as a result, GM dissected Volkswagen vehicles to figure out how they managed to pass emissions testing.
In a recent interview, former GM vice chairman Bob Lutz said, “Our people told me that they had studied the Volkswagen products and that they could not get the hardware to perform the same way to satisfy California’s emissions standards.” Lutz at the time was in charge of product development and wanted to push GM more into diesel offerings.
According to Lutz, the American automaker tested the Volkswagen vehicles and broke them down, but were unable to figure out how they were able to meet California emission standards. Eventually, GM did develop a diesel engine for the Chevrolet Cruze, but Lutz said it was more “just to prove we could.” The problem was, added Lutz, “When you do everything you are supposed to do to meet the emissions standard with diesel,” it hinders performance and fuel economy, while driving up cost.
For years, Mazda has been rumored on bringing the Mazda6 diesel to the U.S., but the Japanese automaker has run into similar problems of hitting performance and fuel economy figures while being able to pass emissions tests.
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