By on January 27, 2012

The Chevrolet Cruze hatchback that’s sold in virtually every market except the United States still won’t be coming to America – but we may have the chance to get a Cruze wagon, if Automotive News has their story straight.

GM is apparently working on a Cruze wagon, essentially a stretched version of the already attractive Cruze hatch. Yes, general wisdom says that Americans don’t buy hatches. But the Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra Touring (which debuts next month), Volkswagen Golf, Kia Forte5, Toyota Matrix and Mazda3 all exist – why not something from the bowtie brand? As AN notes, the Cruze did very well in 2011′s sales charts and all of the volume was composed of 4-door sedans. Surely a Cruze 5-door would add something to the mix? Canada, a strong market for the Cruze, and hatches in general, would gobble this thing up. A Cruze Eco hatch with a 6-speed stick would be a fantastic way to get around in my books. Or what about the prospect of a wagon version of the Cruze diesel? Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here…

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72 Comments on “Will GM Bring Us A Diesel, Manual Station Wagon?...”


  • avatar

    So, you say Honda had the right idea with Crosstour and GM should follow?

    • 0 avatar
      joberg73

      At 51.3 cubic feet max cargo capacity, there is little Honda hard right with the Crosstour (not to mention its looks or how Honda felt the need to put it on stilts). Compare the Crosstour to the Volvo V70/XC70 at 72.1 cubic feet and the Honda makes even less sense.

    • 0 avatar
      rem83

      The Crosstour isn’t exactly a wagon and has been marketed as a crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      Turkina

      Honda made an ass-ugly car with the Crossstour, and it didn’t really add any functionality to an Accord. I didn’t hear anyone say, “Oh, the hatch is useful!” in reviews.
      Smaller cars and a hatch go hand in hand :) Although I prefer more wagonesque iterations due to the larger bump in cargo space. The goal of the 5-door isn’t to just eliminate the trunk with a sloped surface, it’s to add a bit more cargo capacity in the vertical sense, and possibly shorten the tail in the horizontal sense.

      • 0 avatar
        supersleuth

        The Cruze hatch doesn’t strike me as any great beauty either. (Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want one; I’m all about function.) By the way I’ve seen more than one review which does indeed conclude that the Crosstour is the most useful version of the Accord.

      • 0 avatar
        rem83

        @supersleuth – the Crosstour adds ~6.3k to the price of an Accord, and reduces the gas mileage by 2 city, 5 highway. While it may be slightly more utilitarian than a standard Accord, it’s really not much added utility for a big penalty in cost and efficiency. If Chevy can add more utility while keeping the price increase at about 1k and fuel efficiency reduction at 1-2 mpg combined, the wagon / hatch form factor should be a lot more viable than what Honda did.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I disagree. A Trunk can fit more and carry 5 people. The hatch is useless unless one folds the rear seat down.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        I liked the Accord Crosstour in theory but in reality I wonder why they listened to whoever they listened to. Probably a focus group of SUV driving Americans.

        Want to fix the Crosstour? Get it off of the stilts. Get rid of the weight. Just take an Accord and graft a hatch on to a five door and add rear fold down seats. No gas mileage penalty. No overweight looking Accord. I like five doors and Hondas but not that Crosstour. The Tesla S has good proportions from the pictures I’ve seen.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    GM seems awfully obstinate about not having a 5-door Cruze hatch in America. If I was ever in the position to directly ask either a spokesman or a product exec a question, it would be this:

    Why cede the entirety of the 5-door C-segment to Ford, Hyundai, Kia, VW, Toyota and Mazda?

    This decision clashes with their decision to bring the new Colorado – which is pretty much the same size as a Silverado – to the states, while Chrysler and Ford are quitting the smaller pickup game altogether.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      While I personally think that’s a nice little hatch, I think the answer to your question is fairly obvious: if the take rate for hatches is low, and that market is already divided between 5 strong players (OK, 3 plus Mazda & VW), is it worth making the effort? Normally I’d say no, but considering the hatch is already developed and in production, make that a maybe. But given GM’s history of less than successful hatches, and their recent near-death experience, I can’t really blame them for playing it safe.

      The wagon seems like a smart move. Can’t cost too much to develop, and the market(if it exists)is wide open. If it flops they should at least break even, and if small wagons suddenly become the Next Big Thing(could happen if gas prices spike) they’re sitting very pretty.

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      It makes a lot of sense to bring the HB stateside now that the HHR is dead, or even a coupe. Chevy must be losing sales to the Corolla, Focus and Civic which are available as hatchbacks and coupes. For 2011, all the 231,000 Cruze sales came from one 4 door version. For comparison the Civic is available as sedan, coupe, high performance versions of coupe and sedan, hybrid and high efficiency. But GM wouldn’t risk losing sales of more expensive Nox and Terrain by bringing the Cruze HB and Wagon or the Camaro by sales of Cruze Coupe/SS.

      Let the Corolla/Civic/Focus have several variants and more sales, while GM is deflecting buyers to Equinox/Terrain for people who want utility.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        How hard is it for GM to offer a 5 door and a wagon based on the existing Cruze? Same interior except the rear most plastic panels and rear seat. Same chassis. Same exhaust. Some new exterior steel. The crazy thing of it to me is that all these things have already been created for other markets. All they need to do is either import the components or hand the blueprints to their favorite suppliers and accept shipments when the parts start coming in.

        Me thinks they are continuing to live up the rumor that they are steering utility customers to SUVs and trucks.

        Can anyone say whether variants of sedans have to be crash tested and certified separately from the sedans for the DOT or NHSTA? Is that a significant cost?

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Hey, a Maxx Mini.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      That was my first thought, as well.

      Hey, let’s take the Malibu Maxx, which was a bomb. And then let’s make it smaller, because plainly the problem was that it was too big.

      That’ll work.

      (Contra people above, I think the Crosstour is the most interesting Accord, not that that means a lot in itself.

      And, waily! A few mpg difference, big deal: 26 [4wd v6, highway] vs. 34 [4] or 30 [v6] – even the biggest difference is not quite an extra gallon per 100 miles. Over a year at 12kmi, that’s not even $500. And comparing the two v6 models, it’s rounding error.

      MPG difference matters more at the low end than at the high end, people.

      Think of it as a way to get a 535i GT, and save 20 thousand dollars and BMW-ized maintenance – comparing with the top-end Crosstour.)

  • avatar
    JMII

    Now that the Prius V is available maybe the extended hatchback/wagon revolution will start gaining speed. Diesel + manual? Your dreaming… we’ll see turbo + AWD long before oil burning plus row your own combos arrive in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Diesel + manual not available in a wagon in the US, eh?

      Wrong. Jetta TDI wagon is available right now with a diesel & 6 speed manual. I see them around Seattle a lot.

      http://www.vw.com/portal/en/configurator#10106/10603/23

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Baffling as to why they won’t sell this car here. Just like manuals, the people who want hatches WANT hatches and will not settle for a useless sedan. I prefer proper wagons with a more vertical tailgate, but a sloping hatch is still better than a letter-slot trunk. 90% of sedans look like hatchbacks these days anyway, might as well add the extra functionality.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      “The people who want hatches WANT hatches and will not settle for a useless sedan.”

      +1000

      I’m one of them. I haven’t looked at a Cruze because it doesn’t pass my most basic requirement – I want a wagon, I’ll settle for a hatch

    • 0 avatar

      I noticed too that sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons get virtually indistinguishable these days. Still sedan offers the useful partitioning that hatchback lacks.

      • 0 avatar
        dejal1

        I agree. They can all look pretty similar, what with the tiny size of trunk openings these days because of fastback roofs, there can be a lot of room in a trunk but no way to use it.

        Most sedans offer fold down seats anyways. Just open the lid above the back window instead of below it.

  • avatar

    Of course, I dig it. But that said, with the emergence of high-end hatches like the Audi A7, I think America may be ready for an expansion of hatchback availability. I don’t see why a Cruze hatch wouldn’t sell – maybe not at sedan levels, but it would likely capture some sales from those cars you mentioned. And if it already exists, it couldn’t cost too much to bring here. Just do it already, GM! Oh, and a diesel hatchback? Giggity.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Surely a Cruze 5-door would add something to the mix?

    I can think of two: (1) additional costs and (2) another challenge to inventory management.

    That being said, the fact that the design is being used abroad is an argument in favor of them giving it a shot here. The additional development costs can’t be that high.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My goodness, that hatch is cool! Bring it here, Mr. Lutz, ’cause if you do, I may have to consider an Impala replacement – I’m serious! It’s beautiful!

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Still can’t get that C-pillar right!

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Yeah, I know. Instead of a plastic triangle, now it’s a plastic rectangle of sorts. Maybe if I buy one, I’ll cover it with walnut-grain contact paper or something!

      Still, I realy like it.

      Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!

      • 0 avatar
        bkmurph

        At least it’s less conspicuous on the hatch than on the sedan. And it’s not that different from what Lexus did on the second-gen GS sedans, adding some plastic trim behind the rear doors to round out the appearance of the side glass. (I’m not saying it’s OK just because Lexus did it, just pointing out that GM isn’t the only offender.)

    • 0 avatar
      Vance Torino

      Yup, that C-pillar is the worst feature on the Cruze sedan.

      Black plastic the size of an iPad glued to the side of a car? Brilliant! Saves a few bucks over say, a WINDOW?

      Also looking at you Mazda6. Oh wait, nobody looks at the Mazda6.

      2012 Civic moves it up to the A-pillar. Freakin’ brilliant.

      With a wagon, Chevy has a chance to mess up the D-pillar instead!

      At least the ’79 Lebaron had PADDED VINYL glued to the sides…

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Bingo! If I buy one, I’ll pad and upholster it!

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        i strongly dislike the C pillar and rear treatment of the Cruze sedan including the tail lights/garnish etc.

        i think it comes from the Chrysler Sebring school of design… I could never look at a car like that every day its so jarring to my sense of aesthetics… its just a dumpy looking car just like the excreble Sebring

        if i was GM CEO i’d be asking how they could spend $4 billion and come up with something this ordinary! Coupled with the fact they carried over the 1.8 litre four Family motor I can understand why GM fails so badly.

        however the Australian design studio pulled off a great save and fixed pretty much everything that was wrong with it. It has a new great 1.4 turbo and it is an attractive car to me. I don’t even mind that plastic garnish on the c-pillar.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i think its GM being GM and a general “not designed here” attitude

    the hatch is Australian… in a market of 20 million people where they may sell 30,000 Cruze units a year, they can afford to have the diesel and the hatch and sedan variants.

    I’m sure they sell more Cruze units in say… lower California.

    GM has no excuse for not selling it in the US. Period.

    • 0 avatar

      Canada has 33 million people and the Mazda3 sedan and VW Jetta TDI both sell strongly. I’m shocked GM hasn’t brought a Cruze hatch here, let alone a diesel.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Canada has 33 million people and the Mazda3 sedan and VW Jetta TDI both sell strongly.

        “Strongly” is relative. According to this, VW sold about 27,000 Jettas of all types in Canada last year: http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/search/label/Canada%20Compact%20Car%20Sales?max-results=5 Compared to VW’s total production, this is a drop in the bucket.

        The Mazda 3 doesn’t sell that well in the US. Given Mazda’s position as a smaller company that can be squashed by giants, it makes sense for them to niche the market and to settle for the scraps.

        The approach that works for Mazda doesn’t make sense for GM, which needs to compete head on with the Corolla and the Civic, and to try to beat them. Toyota’s compact sales in the US are dominated by the sedan, and there is no longer a Civic hatchback. The fact that all of them choose to focus on sedan styles for the bulk of their US sales isn’t just a coincidence.

        • 0 avatar

          “Strongly” is relative. According to this, VW sold about 27,000 Jettas of all types in Canada last year: http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/search/label/Canada%20Compact%20Car%20Sales?max-results=5 Compared to VW’s total production, this is a drop in the bucket.

          Thanks, I think most of us know that given the size of Canada’s market and VW’s position as the world’s second largest automaker.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Thanks, I think most of us know that given the size of Canada’s market and VW’s position as the world’s second largest automaker.

        If you are aware of the math, then it should be obvious why other companies aren’t jumping into the hatchback diesel market with both feet — there aren’t enough sales to justify it.

        The number of units involved is small. Even a relatively home run would be tiny. Wrestling with companies with low local market share over what is effectively a financial blip is a waste of time and money.

        • 0 avatar

          GM has brought exclusive Canadian market products over before, ditto VW. I may have communicated poorly. What I meant was I was surprised there wasn’t a diesel Cruze already OR a hatch, given that GM has previously imported vehicles that have been sold in Canada and not the U.S. The Cruze has sold in much stronger volumes than any of the previous Korean re-badge hatches that were brought here earlier in the decade (and not sold in the U.S.)

    • 0 avatar
      alluster

      The Holden Cruze hatch is really nice and I wish GM would bring it here as is, with no changes. http://www.holden.com.au/vehicles/series-ii-cruze/exterior . It may not sell as many as the sedan, but we need to understand that GM is in the process of trying to dominate the segment. They would have to get as many buyers as possible and cover all the bases with a Coupe, Wagon, Hatchback, SS, E-Assist and AWD models. It will be a huge investment well worth in the long run. Once you gain a strong foothold and become the segment leader, then they may pare down some variants. But GM being GM, would want buyers to pick the equinox instead.

    • 0 avatar
      PJ McCombs

      Dunno how well it’s selling in Australia either. I’ve seen precisely one since it was released in late 2011.

      I’d personally welcome a more wagon-y reshape, as the current design looks more ‘fastback’ a la Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. Lots of wasted cargo-carrying potential compared to something like a Mazda3.

  • avatar
    geofcol

    I had a 85 Celebrity wagon with a 6 cyl diesel. Only a few made. The build quality was poor. No one wanted to work on the engine though. The mileage was fantastic, over 33 mpg at speed, around 28 in the city.
    I now have an 2.4l HHR. The build is a little better, oil leak, the mileage close to the same. In both cases I desired the space and wanted good mileage.
    I still think my 79 Chevette hatch wasn’t as bad as is reported in this blog. Albeit it wasn’t so great either. Not too many speeding tickets with that one. Bring the Cruise /S.W./hatch/diesel, I’d probably sign up again!

  • avatar
    Petra

    Here in Canada, we already have a Cruze wagon. We call it the Orlando.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Yeah but the Orlando is a SUV looking people mover. I’d want a Cruze wagon based on the sedan. I’m over the CUV thing. Done it for 13 years now. I want a car next time. The CUV I’d gladly have as a part time vehicle. I definitely will buy something with a tailgate again. Ya hear that GM? So far its the Jetta Sportwagen turbo diesel six speed manual for us next time ’round.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    GM is behaving like a spoiled child who has fallen of their bicycle and are now bluntly refusing to get back on and ride again… Go on GM, don’t be scared, get on that bike and ride it! Ride it all the way to your small but passionate group of manual, diesel or gas hatchback fans.

  • avatar

    The hatch looks like a nice vehicle to me. I’m sure the wagon won’t sell that well, though. Part of what sells the Jetta wagon is when people compare interiors side by side with the Jetta sedan and realize the Wagon is much nicer (due to its Golf roots). The Elantra Touring looks more like a hatch than a wagon.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    I prefer three boxes to two as a general design rule. However, like everybody, I buy a car for peak demand, not average load. Sometimes that peak demand involves transporting more than two adults. The headroom in the new style of “four door coupes” is horrible, making the back seat feel cramped. GM used to be able to give a great ride in the back of a real coupe — see the Regal Grand National back seat for an example — but this four door coupe trend is horrible.

    Sampling the real thing, the Ford Focus hatch is far and away better than the Ford Focus sedan in this regard. I can’t even consider the Focus sedan as people just won’t fit or would send me the chiropractor bill. If this Cruze hatch brings the headroom back to the back seat, and the diesel comes with real fuel efficiency, this starts to be a serious contender for a purchase. Manual? I wouldn’t hold it hostage for that.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    VW has a good thing going with that horricly built Jetta TDI, which can be had in diesel with a stick, and people line up to buy them as they roll off the back of the delivery trucks. Why shouldn’t GM get in on that action? A diesel wagon that comes with a stick and doesn’t fall apart like a Mexican built VW? sign me up.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Gm has promised a diesel Cruze, but only because Mazda promised one first, and they want to have an offering on standby in case people actually start buying diesels that aren’t German. I’d be willing to bet that if (read: when) Mazda backs out after “market research” Chevy will also.

      Now VW is planning to sell hybrids in the US soon. I can’t see the TDI and a hybrid coexisting in such a low volume segment.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        i cannot understand how GM can sell the diesel Cruze in some non US markets…

        it’s an incredibly expensive option (up to $4,000) and diesel is often 10-20c more per liter than gasoline… it just doesn’t add up

        in some countries it obviously is fine… i hear they have a 1.6 litre diesel model for tax purposes and where diesel has parity with petrol then that is a fine compromise

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    Great. I’m sure all 5 people who want one of these will buy it on the used market in 3 years. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of hatches and wagons, but that ship has sailed my friends and I doubt they will return to these shores.

    I have determined, much to my chagrin, that my next car will most likely have to be a CUV or SUV because I simply refuse to own a sedan.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    what the hell is the appeal of compact and subcompact sedans?

    i bought the wife an impreza 5-door primarily because it was one of the few offerings in the market that WAS a wagon. if i’m to have a compact car, i sure as hell don’t want to sacrifice cargo space and rear headroom for a crappy trunk. there is a market for compact wagons, i see mazda 3s, golfs, subies and kias all over my small florida town. it’s not a huge segment but there are those of us who want a well-handling small car that has room for more than one suitcase.

    yes, i’m a freak and i’d totally buy the subaru with a diesel if it were available because the idea of getting prius-level mpg in a car that costs less than 18 grand and isn’t loaded up with strip mined lithium amuses me.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      what the hell is the appeal of compact and subcompact sedans?

      I don’t get it either. My local Ford dealer is doing about 60% sedan 40% hatch business on the new Focus (bout the same on the Fiesta) and I think both sedans are pug ugly. The only thing I can figure is the slight price advantage of the sedans over the hatches. (I do live in one of the poorest counties in the USA. Look up McKinley County New Mexico in your poverty statistics.)

      • 0 avatar
        JKC

        Beats the heck out of me, too. I’m driving a new Focus sedan today while my wife’s car is in the shop: it’s a nice car, but the trunk, while a nice size, has an opening so small as to render it useless. Unless you’re driving a Panther, a hatch makes more sense.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Here in Alberta, we strip mine oil for your driving pleasure. No need for any of yer new-fangled lithium.

      My point is that the oil business has a whole lotta infrastructure that many people choose to ignore when they pick on alternative technology.

  • avatar
    carve

    I don’t know about you guys, but diesel is about 125% the price of gas- about a buck a gallon more. That, combined with the higher purchase price, will make it a loooonnnnggggg time, if ever, until you break even. There are also fewer diesel pumps available, and you have to bother with a urea tank in most of ‘em.

    If diesels are to sell here in the US, it’ll have to be on low-end torque alone. And, DI turbo gas engines are eroding that advantage, too.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I tried to explain this to a co-worker who bought a brand new Jetta TDI to “save money on fuel.” Not only does he have to make back the cost difference in diesel over gas, he has to make back the ENTIRE purchase price of a new car. Lunacy.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Diesel made more sense when a TDI had 46 (or 52) highway MPG on the window sticker and many 4 bangers struggled to get 30, and the fuel was cheaper than 87. That’s how it was when I bought mine, but now I wouldn’t get one.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Go look up a Sportwagen. The diesel is a $2K add-on. $25960 vs $27290.

        200,000 miles / 45 mpg = 4444 gallons * $3.72/gal= $16,533.33 + $2000 = $18,533

        200,000 miles / 32 mpg = 6250 gallons * $3.34/gal=$20,875

        So the diesel wins by $2,342 over 200,000 miles on the highway but costs $2000 to buy in the first place. It’s going to come down to what you like to drive more gas or diesel. Just buy what you like. Nobody is justifying 16″ wheels over 15″ wheels or whether they’ve kept their cellphone five years or if they replace it every time their contract is up.

        I keep cars about 250,000 miles so that’s why I used 200,000 miles. I used fuel prices from this morning’s GasBuddy report for my area.

        If you keep the car 100,000 miles then figure half the savings of course.

        As for the urea, it’s about $10 for 2.5 gallons and 5 gallons is supposed to last about 15,000 miles. That means $130 worth of urea to cover 200,000 miles.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Honestly, what is the appeal of any sedan at all. I may have a different opinion than most American buyers though, as here in Norway it’s still quite normal for a family to have only one car, or one family car and a beater for work. And the work car still needs to be practical, because you use it to haul building materials, and garbage and tools etc. I know ford had some problems selling the bigger Scorpio hatchbacks in the 80′s, but today most midsize and compact cars over here are wagons or hatchbacks. Actually, you can’t have a lineup and expect any sales if you don’t offer a wagon. And most of them are diesel manuals :P Even the Opels ;)
    (unless they are premium brands off course, and even then you can now get both Audi and BMW 5 door hatches…)

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    So Cruze is number one seller without a coupe, a wagon, or even a convertible?

    You guys are just drooling for a Buick Verano wagon prospects?

    American drivers like to sit up high in traffic and think they’ll choose an Equinox before a Cruze wagon.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I for one would like a wagon more than a 5 door for the extra space. Would be nice if they built it, but for some reason, I don’t see it coming.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    This Cruze in hatch for is very nice looking but that color, not so much, makes it look like a plain vanilla car, which it actually is in many ways.

    I’d be interested but it’s a tad too large for my preferences though.

    Disappointed that GM is not willing to bring this stateside, or to Canada either for that matter.

  • avatar
    alluster

    This just in: 45% of Focus sold to fleets in 2011. http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2012/01/25/why-ford-needs-to-worry/ GM should not worry about short term profits regarding the Cruze HBwagon. It’s already developed for other markets and by bringing it here, they can spread the costs. Most importantly, the hatch/wagon command a price premium and puts this car on people’s shopping lists who would never considered a Chevy before, especially if comes with a diesel and stick. Euro styled HB’s are highly popular among well educated consumers with higher incomes and credit scores, the kind of customers GM should be vying for. This also denies sales to the competition like the matrix golf and focus.

    Instead of wasting their money and resources on a sales failure like the Volt, a Cruze diesel if marketed properly has the most potential to steal sales away from the Prius and outgreen Toyota. At 50 MPG highway and a starting price of $20K, no sane person would buy a prius if saving money was their top priority.


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