By on August 6, 2014

2014-chevrolet-cruze-diesel-front-three-quarters

General Motors has few diesel-powered wares at the moment, but with the U.S. diesel market expected to hit 10 percent of the overall market by 2020, GM wants as much as it can get.

Automotive News reports GM vice president of global powertrain Steve Kiefer announced his employer’s diesel plans before those in attendance at the 2014 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., proclaiming the current Chevrolet Cruze “will be the first of many diesel-powered passenger cars General Motors will offer in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the Duramax V8 offered in GM’s heavy-duty pickups will soon be joined by a 2.8-liter four-pot under the bonnets of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups. Beyond this, Kiefer hints that torque will be the driving factor on where more diesels will go. Thus, light-duty versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra may receive diesel engines to compete against the likes of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and the upcoming Ford F-150 SFE.

Kiefer concludes by stating GM will introduce more diesel power into the market “as appropriate and as the market accepts them.”

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38 Comments on “General Motors Prepares To Enter Diesel Car, Light-Duty Pickup Games...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    I wrote Mark Reuss a few weeks back trying to gleen any answers as to the possibility of them sending over the Cruze Wagon. He’s a wagon fan, so maybe…just maybe. Heck, won’t even beg for it to be a diesel manual (or in brown), though it’d help!

  • avatar
    thalter

    Sorry, but as long as diesel fuel is significantly more expensive than gasoline, I don’t see light-duty diesel vehicles being viable in the US. Higher purchase price combined with higher operating costs don’t add up.

    This could work in Canada, where diesel is currently a few pennies per liter less than gasoline.

    • 0 avatar
      BunkerMan

      Not in my part of Canada:

      Regular Unleaded: 130.8 c/L
      Diesel: 135.3 c/L

      It’s true that they’re close but in the recent past, there has been up to a 10 c/L premium for diesel over gas. I can’t remember the last time diesel was cheaper than regular unleaded.

      • 0 avatar
        TCragg

        In Southwestern Ontario, diesel is currently around $1.25/L, while regular gas is $1.32. This situation was reversed through the (unusually cold) winter.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Diesel will have to be a LOT more expensive than it currently is for the operating expense to be higher. In my area, diesel is the same price as midgrade gas at the moment. I will give you the cost of entry, but part of the appeal of diesel is the driving experience. This is not a 52hp diesel Rabbit, this is a car that has an engine that feels about like the old low performance V8s felt, a ton of easy wafting torque. Yet it gets better fuel economy than a little wind the nuts off it gas engine that won’t get out of its own way.

      There also does not HAVE to be a huge price penalty. BMW only charges ~$1500 more for a 328d vs. a 328i, and even that is probably mostly profit for them given the similar level of tech in the two engines.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “Sorry, but as long as diesel fuel is significantly more expensive than gasoline, I don’t see light-duty diesel vehicles being viable in the US. Higher purchase price combined with higher operating costs don’t add up.”

      Diesel passenger vehicle sales are up 25% in the US for the first half of this year alone, with annual sales growth in recent years in the 25%-40% range. They are well on track to exceed 10% of the US car market by 2018.
      Easily the fastest growing segment in the US market – of course GM wants a piece of it.

      Some of y’all really need to read something besides blogs and forum posts once in a while…

  • avatar
    Toad

    Introducing more diesels is good news. More choices from more manufacturers is great for consumers. Diesels are not for everyone, but having more options is always a good thing.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Diesel passenger car economics don’t work in Canada either.

    Notwithstanding about 30 percent better fuel efficiency than equivalent gasoline engines, the fuel savings are offset by the vehicle’s higher purchase price, heavily taxed diesel fuel’s seasonally higher cost relative to regular gasoline, and more expensive maintenance requirements.

    Diesels perform best and are at their most economic for highway driving. There is no city driving advantage. Owners doing less than 35,000 kilometers a year will not recover the steeper costs, especially if something expensive breaks out of warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      No one is saying diesel is for everyone. But for some people it is a great option. Hybrids are best if you have a stop and go commute, diesels are great on the highway. Why can we not have the choice? If you have to pay to play, so be it. And ALL cars are expensive to fix these days. Do you think a direct injection gas engine is any cheaper to fix than a diesel? Have you priced a CARB-compliant catalytic converter lately?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “Do you think a direct injection gas engine is any cheaper to fix than a diesel?”

        Yes. The cost of just having the injectors replaced on my diesel, is about he same as the complete rebuild of the gas engine that was the standard engine on my truck.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “Diesels perform best and are at their most economic for highway driving. There is no city driving advantage.”

      Not true. I am consistently getting well north of 40 mpg in suburban/city driving – that’s with NO interstate/hwy miles involved. The only thing that rivals a diesel in city driving is a hybrid (EVs notwithstanding), and most of them aren’t doing much better except when they are running full electric.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This is great news.

    It seems to me the take rate over at the VW lot for the TDI is quite high.

    Having owned both GM and VW, I would gladly take GM reliability over VW and FWIW; I had a 98 TDI Jetta for five years. Great car, great MPG back when no one cared.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I can’t recall ever seeing a Cruze diesel on the road. I’ve seen some Eco models, and I’ve seen a few Cruze diesels on dealer lots but that’s it. It is difficult to find sales stats for the Cruze diesel. Makes me wonder how many of them GM is actually moving.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I read that the Cruze Diesel is ~2% mix out of a target of 10% mix.

        http://wardsauto.com/blog/chevy-cruze-diesel-caught-game-catch

        Considering that a bulk of Cruze sales were not the LTZ trim, I’m not sure why they though the LTZ trim only diesel would fill out 10% of the sales mix. That seems extremely optimistic when the MSRP of the diesel is $27k. VW, offering the TDI on almost all trims, really broadens the appeal of the TDI.

        • 0 avatar
          mjz

          Ageeed, they should offer the diesel in all trim levels, not as it’s own high spec trim. Hey, and bring over the Cruze hatch and wagon too!

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            As shown by VW, the same people who like diesels like wagons and hatches too.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Yep, the 10,000 members of the VW TDI Fanboy Club…who all drive their cars to a screaming death at 300,000 miles…a marketer’s wet dream!

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Put a diesel in the Malibu, and it’s automatically twice as interesting. Not saying much, but it’s something.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    As long as GM continues to price diesel engines like they are made of pure unobtanium, sales will be abysmal.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Diesel is a logical choice for heavier vehicles such as trucks and larger SUVs due do its abundant torque and fuel economy benefits. However, for most passenger cars diesel is simply not economical it as the economy savings never pays for the additional up front investment. That only works in Europe were diesel is subject to tax incentives.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, in the Netherlands, diesel fuel is cheaper, but roadtaxes are almost double. This adds up to TCO. So there is only an financial advantage if you drive a lot. That really bugs me, and a lot of others too, as diesel runs very nicely, and needs less electronics than gas to run. And all the other benefits like torque and such…

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      It’s not all about the TCO. Modern diesels are great to drive compared to any gas engine that delivers even remotely similar economy. Then there is the added range between fillups, which is a nice bonus too.

      And much of the upfront cost is because they CAN, not because they have to. On a BMW, the diesel option is $600 cheaper than adding navigation. On a car that already has the screen in the dash, the iDrive controller, and pretty much everything else needed other than the actual GPS reciever!

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        That whole Nav upcharge is ridiculous. If I purchase a car that has an 8″ touch screen and the Nav system is SD card based, the Nav should just be included. Everyone is guilty of that pricing sin.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Ironic, since the US market’s fear of diesels is directly traceable to GM’s 1980 350 diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      True, and there were lots of other reasons too, like the Gawd-awful, slow, hard to start. smoky and generally nasty Mercedes, VW, Volvo and Peugeot diesels that came out around the same time. They didn’t blow up like the GM motors did, but they were no picnic.

      Plus diesel fuel pumps were scarce back then. I remember having to scout around for diesel for my dad’s ’85 Mercedes 300 diesel back in the day – no fun.

      It’d take a pretty awesome diesel to make me consider one today.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        How about the 6.7L Powerstroke or 6.6L Duramax?

        I want the 6.7L Powerstroke in my C-Max.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          No doubt today’s diesels are vastly better.

          But relatively cheap gas plus the dreadful converted GM 350 back then have hindered diesel adoption for decades.

          Today, the problem is the iffy payback due to high diesel fuel prices and the engine price premium. My Optima Hybrid gets 35-45 mpg; why would I want a smelly diesel?

          Therefore, most Americans are only interested in diesels for their torque – which is nice – but not for the same reasons that make diesels wildly popular in Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Torque is the reason diesels are popular in Europe too. You can get a car with the economy of a gutless 1.2l gas motor that actually has decent performance. If you don’t drive enough or can’t afford the diesel, you just get the 1.2l.

            A lot of people seem to think that diesel is somehow massively less expensive in Europe. It’s not, it is just slightly cheaper. When I was last there in ’11, it worked out to be less than a dollar per gallon difference, when you are talking $10-12/gal gas at that time. And most countries tax diesels more annually. On a strictly TCO basis, you still need to drive a TON of miles even over there. People do it because they are nicer to drive than an equally economical gas engine.

      • 0 avatar
        hybridkiller

        “It’d take a pretty awesome diesel to make me consider one today.”

        I’m not going to say that driving one would automatically make you want one, but if you haven’t driven a modern turbo diesel you really have no idea…

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          Not even modern, my neighbor’s MkIV TDI Jetta possesses far more punch than its 100 hp would suggest and impressed me in one drive.

          • 0 avatar
            hybridkiller

            In that case a MK6 would probably blow you away – feels almost like a malaise era V8 (it just doesn’t sound like one…)

  • avatar
    hybridkiller

    btw, +1 on every single one of krhodes1’s comments. He’s making all the arguments I would make, and probably doing a better job of it.

  • avatar
    motormouth

    That’s an interesting figure, diesels are expected to make up 10% of annual US sales by 2020.

    I’ve long thought that some OEMs are missing a trick by pushing hybrids over diesels. Why develop expensive hybrid tech to achieve the same (oe worse) mileage as an efficient diesel?

    One particular case is with Honda, which is clearly focusing on hybrids in North America. The new 1.6-litre i-DTEC is a great engine, but the company has overspent on development. This engine (in detuned state, using a reduced stroke to offer 1.5-litre capacity, for local tax reasons) is now being used in India, but it needs greater exposure to recoup the costs.

    North America would be the natural choice and the TD could be used in the Civic, Fit and upcoming Vezel/HR-V, but the company (as is standard for Honda these days) refuses to accept that there’s some legs in the idea of offering a diesel in the region.

    I think it’s a missed opportunity – particularly if the quoted future marketshare figure for diesels comes to fruition.

  • avatar
    Les

    I lost all interest in the Cruze diesel when I found out they made space for the emissions gear by deleting space for a spare tire.. The idea of a car that can go 700 miles between fill-ups Really appeals to me, but NOT if it doesn’t carry a spare.

    Hmmmm….

    I wonder what the take-rate would be on an Impala with a V-6 diesel in the 3.0+L range?

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