Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Returns in 2017, Plans to Woo Jilted Volkswagen Owners

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

With its diesel-powered competition sidelined by scandal (and soon to be scrapped), General Motors sees a big window of opportunity for its new Chevrolet Cruze diesel.

Rather than being worried about consumer sentiment in the wake of Volkswagen’s emissions scandal, GM can’t wait to put the moves on the legions of spurned diesel diehards, Automotive News reports.

Dan Nicholson, GM’s vice president for global propulsion systems, said the timing is perfect for the next-generation Cruze diesel, powered by a 1.6-liter unit that engineers dubbed “whisper diesel.”

Speaking outside a seminar at Michigan’s Center for Automotive Research, Nicholson sounded tickled at the thought of capturing a market formerly dominated by a competitor.

“There are a lot of diesel intenders and diesel-loyal people who are looking for a brand and vehicles to go after,” Nicholson told Automotive News. “They tend to be more tech savvy than the average customer. And they won’t stop wishing for a diesel. And we’ll go after those customers.”

We already knew another Cruze diesel was on the way — GM announced it when it unveiled the second-generation compact last year. The 1.6-liter engine’s output and fuel economy are still a mystery, but the Cruze’s weight loss should help both figures stay competitive. There’s also the selling point that the new mill, once certified for sale in the U.S., won’t be recalled and crushed by regulators.

The previous-generation Cruze sported a very torquey 2.0-liter diesel for the 2014 and 2015 model years, but sales were hamstrung by strong competition and a high cost of entry.

Volkswagen owned the U.S. small car diesel market, backed by years of good reviews, huge sales, and a prolific ad campaign now proven to be a lie. When the scandal blows over (propelled by the wind generated by falling bundles of cash), don’t expect to see many oil burners in the VW lineup.

Nicholson feels that just because Volkswagen (and Audi, and Porsche) had their diesels yanked, doesn’t mean the market disappeared.

“I am very optimistic about the diesel market in the U.S.,” he said. “It has been abandoned by others and we are happy to step in and be the leader. Frankly that’s what we’d like to do.”

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Philadlj Philadlj on Aug 04, 2016

    It's damn prettier than a Jetta, to boot.

  • Aphidman Aphidman on Aug 04, 2016

    I have had a Cruze Diesel since November 2014. I rather like it. It was a demonstrator with about 3500 km on it, so I got it at a good discount. They wanted the auto journalists to like it, so they loaded it up with goodies. I chose it because I like taking long highway trips, and I wanted something a bit different. The fuel economy aspect was not a big motivator, though the thing can go 1000 km on the highway on one tank. Never had problems with the DEF freezing up. I remember it started perfectly after I had left it outside overnight, not plugged in, in -30°C.

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