By on August 22, 2008

Truth uncovered? (courtesy freep.com)The last we heard (yesterday), GM NA VP of Chevy said the new Cruze will be "targeting having the best fuel economy in the small-car segment with Cruzeclass-leading mpg." Har-har. But seriously folks, where did the Detroit News come up with its new headline "GM plans $500M for 45-mpg small car." Extrapolation? Nope. Expectation. "The Cruze is expected to get about 45 miles per gallon and serve as a counter-punch to $4-per-gallon gasoline once it goes into production in April 2010." There's nothing in GM's press release suggesting that kind of fuel efficiency. The Freep reports "The Cobalt is rated at 33 highway miles per gallon and the new Cobalt XFE model gets 37 m.p.g. on the highway. The Cruze is expected to get closer to 40 m.p.g."  UPDATE: TTAC commentator Buick61 quotes Edmunds to provides an explanation: “On August 12, Beth Lowery, GM’s vice president of environment, energy and safety policy, told the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, that the Cruze will get better gas mileage than the vehicle it replaces — the current Chevrolet Cobalt. 'The Chevy Cruze will get an additional nine miles per gallon in fuel economy when it debuts in 2010 [versus the Cobalt].'"  

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46 Comments on “DetN: Chevrolet Cruze to Get 45mpg...”


  • avatar
    210delray

    Why is there all of this sudden hype for the Cruze? Has something gone terribly wrong with the Hail Mary Volt program?

    It looks like the Cruze has become The Next Big Thing.

  • avatar
    kericf

    It’s a case of Corporate ADD. Keep firing up the buzz wagon. The Volt is old news, in GM’s mind, they have already won and the project is complete. They are getting all kinds of positive press on the project so no use in spending money (they don’t have) hyping it. Now they need something fresh to hype to bring in more excitement.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Sounds like they cherry-picked the expected economy for the diesel model. Whether this was a mistake or an attention-grabber, I don’t know. But overpromising and underdelivering is the last thing GM needs to do right now.

  • avatar
    jaje

    The Cruze like the Volt only run on garbage and carbon emissions – and out of its tailpipe comes flowers and pixie dust that are magically delicious. I’m going down to my dealer to test drive this press release. Can’t wait – Go GM!

    Really? I’ve never understood GM’s modus operandi of releasing all these details on cars that are 1-3 years away from production. If you look at Toyondassan – when they finally break all these specific details it’s 1-2 months before they are actually at the dealerships. They keep all these promises and claims until they have been tested, retested, and re-retested. GM starts with the goal they want and brags about it…then delays the vehicle again when they find it’s not as easy as it was just saying it.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I will believe it when I see people driving it. It looks pretty porky and fat to me to be getting such a high mpg like that. Are they making the thing out of carbon fiber or putting in a 600cc 40 hp engine in it to get that sort of mileage.

    ash78’s comment is probably correct they are selling the the oil burner mileage when we wont even see that engine here.

  • avatar
    thalter

    Is it just me, or does the Cruze bear more than just a passing (and unfortunate) resemblance to the Chrysler Sebring (especially around the C-pillar)?

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    You know how they got 45 MPG? They got it from how EVERYBODY advertises their cars today. They are giving you the highway MPG.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    You should not have to have that big of an investigation, GM said it themselves.

    “On August 12, Beth Lowery, GM’s vice president of environment, energy and safety policy, told the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, that the Cruze will get better gas mileage than the vehicle it replaces — the current Chevrolet Cobalt. “The Chevy Cruze will get an additional nine miles per gallon in fuel economy when it debuts in 2010 [versus the Cobalt],” Lowery said. ”

    So I guess The Detroit News added 9 + 36 to get their number (though the ’09 Cobalt is rated at 37, so they could have said 46mpg if they were feeling audacious).

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=130767

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    @jaje: I’ve never understood GM’s modus operandi of releasing all these details on cars that are 1-3 years away from production.

    I can. GM will need to raise billions for working capital at some point in the next 12 to 18 months, and hyping their future product pipeline is a way of building confidence on Wall Street…or confidence among Congress when they approve Federal loan guarantees. Lido did the same thing at Chrysler with the K-cars, some time around 1980…

  • avatar
    GS650G

    MPG is only one part of a decision to buy a car. Reliability, resale, style, price, etc counts too.

  • avatar
    rob

    jaje :

    The Cruze like the Volt only run on garbage and carbon emissions – and out of its tailpipe comes flowers and pixie dust that are magically delicious.

    Don’t forget about the frolicking puppies and kittens. You know, the ones with really big eyes.

    Runfromcheney :
    You know how they got 45 MPG? They got it from how EVERYBODY advertises their cars today. They are giving you the highway MPG.

    45 mpg is incredibly (impossibly?) high for this type of vehicle on the EPA cycle. Even the diesel Jetta is rated at “only” 40 mpg hwy.

    There are only two possible ways in which this vehicle could be rated at 45 mpg hwy:
    1) it’s a diesel
    2) low Cd and frontal area, lightweight, low resistance tires, etc.

    If the latter is true, it might be my next car.

  • avatar
    RoweAS

    You guys are acting as if GM will be in NA in 2011. I believe when i see it at a dealer.

  • avatar
    pman

    OK. So GM said that the Cruze will get 9 mpg better than the Cobalt. That still doesn’t clarify whether or not they were referring to the diesel variant. Small diesel powered economy cars that get 45 mpg on the highway aren’t unheard of. So basically, GM has once again belched out some unexplained numbers from the hype machine for the Detroit press and GM fanboys to fantasize about and get hard over. Admittedly, I’d be thoroughly impressed if it was from a gasoline engine, though.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Setting benchmarks before engineering the product is done–isn’t that what what creates R&D cost overruns?

    jaje: I was describing how GM reveals details years before, to a friend of mine, who suggested that maybe GM knows it’s not good but does it anyway. The reason being, GM has had a history of vaporware products. Annouuncing something and not building it. Nowadays, the last thing they need is their shareholders and investors to withdraw, so they announce breakthrough products, hype them up and advertise them in public, to show shareholders they’re trying to do something, because saying they’ll do it (like with the Volt for example) is not enough anymore.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    This whole MPG discussion makes my head hurt. My Golf is rated at about 32mpg highway, yet i regularly exceed that, im mixed driving, no less, if I am good. If I am not good, i get about 22-25. The Caddy DTS i drive for work cant get over 21 mpg no matter what i do, and i think its rated at 26 mpg highway.

    like i said it makes my head hurt.

  • avatar
    sean362880

    …that the Cruze will get better gas mileage than the vehicle it replaces — the current Chevrolet Cobalt.

    I had trouble remembering what vehicle the Cruze was going to replace, and I read a lot of auto news. Why didn’t they just call it the Cobalt?

    Also, the difference between 37 MPG and 45 MPG is next to nothing. That’s what, 5 gallons/1000 miles? Big deal.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    There are only two possible ways in which this vehicle could be rated at 45 mpg hwy:
    1) it’s a diesel
    2) low Cd and frontal area, lightweight, low resistance tires, etc.

    It doesn’t look like a vehicle with a low Cd or frontal area, so unless it’s all in the mass and tires, the only other way is point #1. A diesel.

    A really small, low-power diesel. Think 90hp or less. Think Smart CDI.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Is it just me, or does that vehicle not look small? It looks mid-size.

  • avatar
    mikey610

    Is it beyond the realm of possibility that the 9 MPG comes from comparing an auto-4spd loaded Cobalt with the “XFE version” of the cruise?

    Apples and oranges….

  • avatar
    mikey

    Ok maybe sombody has a couple of answers here.So doom and gloom is everywhere and GM is neck deep in poo poo
    The Lordstown built Cobalt sales are up 16%and GM is planing to replace it in a few years with something better.How can this be a bad thing?Isn’t this what the domestics have been getting beat up over?You know good product left to rot on the vine?

    Is 45 mpg possible in a non diesel?Who T.F knows.
    Is it possible that the number #1 car company in the world might have some pretty sharp people working towards that goal?

    So Rick comes to the plant rallys the troops and maybe catches Wall Streets attention and the media.Isn’t that what a CEO is supposed to do?

    GM got themselves into this mess and thier trying to crawl out.This “GM fanboy”is looking for success and I’m not prone to fantasy

  • avatar
    virages

    I doubt those numbers, unless they have some sort of hybrid. I am currently driving a car with a 1.2l engine that weighs 900kg and gets 35mpg from everyday use I’m feathering the pedal too!

    That car, unless the people in the picture are midgets, doesn’t look that small, so I doubt that it weighs less than 1000kg and with a 1.8l engine it will probably get 45mpg only through tall gearing and steady 55mph on a flat road…with tailwinds.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Buick61,

    Not to split hairs but the Cobalt auto gets 33. 9+33=42.

    And that’s highway economy… to reduce it almost certainly means they need lower overall drag. If the Cobalt is really crappy for Cd, this can be done. If not…

    And if the Cd is already fair on the Cobalt, reducing drag significantly involves making the frontal area – and therefore, very likely, the passenger compartment – smaller.

    Unless those people uncovering it are hobbits, the car looks to be about the same size as a Corolla. Highway fuel economy will probably be pretty similar to a Corolla unless GM has some significant powertrain magic available.

    If I remember correctly, when discussing future plans, the Cruze among them, Lutz recently remarked that “the Cobalt is just now coming into its own” or something very similar. That hardly sounds like they’re going to retire the Cobalt in favor of this car. At least not soon. Several possibilities occur to me:

    a) Lutz is clueless. I could be persuaded of this.

    b) They will continue to sell the Cobalt alongside the Cruze.

    If the latter, why? Well, what if the Cruze will be more expensive than the Cobalt? Of course, the Cobalt could go into fleets…

  • avatar
    P71_CrownVic

    The Cruze is looking to be a great car. Looks good, gets great mileage, and, based on the photos, will have an amazing interior.

    Go GM!

  • avatar
    KixStart

    It looks about the size of a Corolla. If so, highway mileage won’t be significantly better than a Corolla unless GM has a killer powertrain and the Corolla’s Cd is much worse than it looks while the Cruze’s Cd is much better.

    Buick61, the auto Cobalt still gets only 33mpg. Add 9 to that and get 42. This strikes me as still rather optimistic. And it wouldn’t be the first time some empty suit exec for Environmental and Whatnot got it wrong.

    Let me add… it’s great that GM is going to take a high-mpg economy car seriously. But people looking for magical improvements are going to be disappointed.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Good for Lordstown — I hope they make a good name for themselves with the Cruze.

    Assuming the General doesn’t hop on the CH 7 train any time soon.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Looks more like an Ion that had a tree fall on the hood.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    Why are people pointing out to me that the Cobalt gets “only” 33mpg with the Automatic? I never mis-stated the mileage.

    And here’s a list of cars that do the same or worse than the automatic Cobalt:

    Ford Focus
    Nissan Versa
    Nissan Sentra
    Hyundai Accent
    Hyundai Elantra
    Kia Spectra
    Mazda3
    VW Rabbit
    VW Jetta
    VW New Beetle
    Mitsubishi Lancer
    Scion tC
    Subaru Impreza
    Dodge Caliber
    Kia Rio (manual)

    And a significant portion of the Cobalt’s sales was the XFE model, so it’s not right to just pass off the ’09 Cobalt’s 37mpg.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    I’ve been following this “45mpg” trail myself for a while, and considering doing an article on it. The extrapolation DN did was based on an extremely unlikely assumption: that the Cruze would get 9mpg better highway mileage than the XFE. GM didn’t say that, and has always said 40mpg or better than 40mpg. The nine mpg improvement is undoubtedly over the regular Cobalt.

    40 to 42mpg on the highway is a bit of a stretch, but with optimization of gearing, etc., possible. The similar 1.4 TFI Euro Golf gets very close to that number.

    Then keep in mind, this is a projection for PR purposes. We’ve seen other EPA projections being missed, most notable the Jetta TDI.

  • avatar
    Needforspeed007

    Its hard to call the 45mpg claim without a true test drive. But if GM is either using some Euro diesel and transmittion combo or is using the 1.4 with maybe a 6 speed and have it work something like the XFE. Its just tough to figure out, but it would be great if its possible though.

    As for the Cobalt though, I heard that GM may keep it and have its car line up like this. Aveo, Cobalt, Cruze, Malibu, and Impala.

  • avatar
    JuniorMint

    The extrapolation DN did was based on an extremely unlikely assumption: that the Cruze would get 9mpg better highway mileage than the XFE. GM didn’t say that, and has always said 40mpg or better than 40mpg.

    Well, as a general rule, a reporter’s job is typically easier when they just make shit up.

    It’s loads more efficient to remove that pesky “find a source to back up your claim” step.

  • avatar
    beken

    I am of the opinion that the Cruze is the update to the Chevrolet Optra which is currently sold in Canada, but not the US. It is built by Daewoo and, I believe the update to the previous Daewoo Nubira (but could be wrong). I don’t believe it is really anything new or ground breaking for GM.

    http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/04optra.htm

    But the PR/marketing guys at GM had to find a way to stir up interest in this refreshed model and introduce it to the US. Somebody correct me if I’m totally off base on this.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    I am of the opinion that the Cruze is the update to the Chevrolet Optra which is currently sold in Canada, but not the US. It is built by Daewoo and, I believe the update to the previous Daewoo Nubira (but could be wrong). I don’t believe it is really anything new or ground breaking for GM.

    http://www.canadiandriver.com/testdrives/04optra.htm

    But the PR/marketing guys at GM had to find a way to stir up interest in this refreshed model and introduce it to the US. Somebody correct me if I’m totally off base on this.

    You’re totally off base on this. The Cruze is on the all new Delta II platform. It’s in no way a refreshed Daewoo product.

  • avatar
    Jonathon

    “Is it just me, or does the Cruze bear more than just a passing (and unfortunate) resemblance to the Chrysler Sebring (especially around the C-pillar)?”

    I was thinking resurrected Saturn Ion with a Chevy Malibu face.

  • avatar
    Mark45

    Has anyone considered the possibility that they have made a breakthrough in lean-burn tech. In the early 90’s Honda had the Civic VX with lean-burn that got 55 mpg/hwy. They abandoned the lean-burn when emission standards got stricter. Maybe GM has found a way to meet the emission standards while using lean-burn tech.

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    This sounds like a classic example of Vaporware. Tell the public that you will be coming out with a 45mpg car in 2010 so they will wait for it and not buy a Prius or Honda Hybrid. This story could also be used to prevent further dumping of GM stock by investors.

    In any case, considering all the safety features people expect; six airbags, ABS, stability control, 5 star crash ratings; and considering people expect sub 8 second 0-60 times; I think if it were possible to build a 4 seat auto with the above features that could achieve 45mpg it would have been done by now. It may require making the supension and many body pieces from light alloy in order to keep the weight down under 2500 lbs or so in order to achieve a good power to weight ratio and good fuel economy.

    I do not believe that GM has the engineering / business capability to build such a car for and deliver it at a competitive price point and make a profit.

  • avatar
    amca

    No, it’s not a diesel diesel.

    It’s going to be a gas diesel. HCCI, as it’s been called.

    GM’s been working on this, we know. They’ve let the press drive an HCCI prototype Malibu. And there was recently news that they’d figured out how to make a car run HCCi even at idle.

    This would neatly explain the extraordinary mileage they’ve been claiming. The only way to explain it, actually, as I don’t think there’s a gas car on the market presently that gets that kind of mileage.

    This also makes sense of the late introduction date here in the States for the Cruze. The unprecedented HCCI engine isn’t quite yet ready to go.

    If I’ve got this right, the Cruze is going to be a home run.

  • avatar
    monkeyboy

    45 MPG hard to believe?

    The Toyohodasan group has everyone thinking it can’t be done?

    I remember the Geo Metro or Chevy Sprint at 46 mpg with a 3 cyl.

    Been done folks. By GM again.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Buick61:

    “So I guess The Detroit News added 9 + 36 to get their number (though the ‘09 Cobalt is rated at 37, so they could have said 46mpg if they were feeling audacious).”

    Nope. Maybe they just can’t add well….

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    If we could harness all the hot air coming from GM marketing and PR people, they wouldn’t need to make cars that get 40-whatever MGP….the “energy crisis” would be over….

    it’s like jaje said, GM and the american makers are constantly flapping their jaws about what their cars can do, will do, might do….Toyandissan justs does it, lets the market buy it, banks the money, and shuts the f%&^ up….

    There is a refreshing lesson for the D2.701

  • avatar
    carlos.negros

    monkeyboy wrote:
    “I remember the Geo Metro or Chevy Sprint at 46 mpg with a 3 cyl. Been done folks. By GM again.”

    Actually, it was done by Suzuki, rebadged by GM. And these cars were death traps.

    People don’t want to strap their 8 year olds into such cars and risk having to wipe drool from their mouths for the rest of their lives.

    We expect safe cars with all the features of a Civic and 45 mpg. I don’t believe that is possible without using expensive materials.

  • avatar
    digitalsoul

    @ carlos.negros: People don’t want to strap their 8 year olds into such cars and risk having to wipe drool from their mouths for the rest of their lives.
    ——-

    If your point was to note the safety requirements now mandated for cars, fine. But even that is relative. The safest Volvo is no more or less a death trap versus an 18-wheeler, an icy highway, a drunk driver, or a really fat tree.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    jaje :
    If you look at Toyondassan – when they finally break all these specific details it’s 1-2 months before they are actually at the dealerships. They keep all these promises and claims until they have been tested, retested, and re-retested. GM starts with the goal they want and brags about it…then delays the vehicle again when they find it’s not as easy as it was just saying it.

    Disingenuous and patently untrue. You obviously haven’t been watching TV this summer. Toyota has been pushing their own futureTech/Vaporware for months now.

    And even last year they had the commerical showing people making a Prius out of branches and grass, and the voice over speaks to Toyota working to create zero-emissions vehicles and “striving for zero waste in everything we do.”

    And there you have Toyota’s Hubris.

    It’s easy to be a critic. Being objective takes some research. You took the easy road.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Buick61: “You obviously haven’t been watching TV this summer. Toyota has been pushing their own futureTech/Vaporware for months now.”

    Seriously? I haven’t noticed any such Toyota ads. What futureware/vaporware do they feature?

    Buick61: “And even last year they had the commerical showing people making a Prius out of branches and grass, and the voice over speaks to Toyota working to create zero-emissions vehicles and “striving for zero waste in everything we do.””

    That ad features a real car. And Toyota did make a pretty sizeable effort to make the car more “sustainable.” There was discussion of that when it first came out. I forget what all goes into the Prius but some of the parts are made of things that surprised me.

    By the same token, popping corn appears to give you a Chevrolet. How much corn is used to build a Chevrolet?

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @ psarhjinian
    A really small, low-power diesel. Think 90hp or less. Think Smart CDI.

    The Smart CDI has 45 tire-shredding horsepower.

    A 45 mpg highway rating isn’t unheard of in larger diesel cars.
    A BMW 330d has a 49 mpg (US) European highway rating. (and 245 horsepower)
    A 320d has a 57 mpg highway rating.

    The Cruze is a bit longer than a 3-series.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    KixStart :
    August 25th, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Buick61: “You obviously haven’t been watching TV this summer. Toyota has been pushing their own futureTech/Vaporware for months now.”

    Seriously? I haven’t noticed any such Toyota ads. What futureware/vaporware do they feature?

    Buick61: “And even last year they had the commerical showing people making a Prius out of branches and grass, and the voice over speaks to Toyota working to create zero-emissions vehicles and “striving for zero waste in everything we do.””

    That ad features a real car. And Toyota did make a pretty sizeable effort to make the car more “sustainable.” There was discussion of that when it first came out. I forget what all goes into the Prius but some of the parts are made of things that surprised me.

    By the same token, popping corn appears to give you a Chevrolet. How much corn is used to build a Chevrolet?

    The commerical features a plug-in Prius. How much more vaporware do you need. Where can I buy such a car from Toyota?

    And the point is, the second commercial talks about Toyota trying to make zero emissions vehicles. Well, whoopdeedoo. They’re advertising something they don’t have.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    Rather than waiting for another two years for all that Cruz development, why don’t they just release this drivetrain NOW in the Aveo, Astra, and Cobalt and give us whatever gains they can in MPG? The Aveo for one needs another 5 mpg to be credible to me. A car that small and that new ought to get 40 mpg average.

    I’ll give my 11 year old VW some slack. It weighs much more (convertible) and has an “old tech” engine that only matches the Aveo on the highway and betters it in town at 29 mpg where an Aveo is likely to be most content (low speeds).

    Heck even my 9 year old AWD CR-V betters the Aveo around town in mileage. With 162K miles.

    Release the drivetrain in those three cars now and then use the money they save on the Cruz to upgrade the Aveo, Astra, and Cobalt to better materials so it is a better quality car that lasts longer. A side benefit is that they can start building those quality names like Corolla and Civic that people instantly recognize as durable vehicles that people careful with their money buy.

    Or… Just make me an electric Aveo GT with 100 miles range and a 150K+ mile NiMH battery lifetime just like the RAV4-EV of 2003 fame. 0-60 times can be equal to the gas car and I’d be happy.

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