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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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Chevrolet will bring a diesel-powered version of the Cruze compact sedan to the U.S. market. The news comes via two sources briefed on GM’s future product plans and is not the first indication of an oil-burner Cruze for America. Back in February GMInsideNews was first to break the story and this latest info only adds to that report’s credibility.
The Cruze diesel is likely to use the same powerplant found under the hood of the Australian version of the Cruze (which is sold under the Holden brand). That car uses a 2.0-liter diesel engine making 147-hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet is reportedly targeting a 50-mpg highway rating in a bid to meet increasingly strict CAFE requirements.
Set to go on sale in late 2012 as a 2013 model year car, look for a starting price several thousand above the current Cruze model, as diesel engines cost more to produce. Chevrolet may look to follow Volkswagen in offering a high-content level for the diesel models in order to offset the added cost of the engine.
If the reports prove true, this would mark the first time since the 1980s that a diesel-powered passenger car was a part of GM’s North American lineup.