Chevrolet Cruze's CVT Coming Sooner Than Expected

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
chevrolet cruze s cvt coming sooner than expected

Christmas get-togethers across North America were ruined when we reported, last December, that the manual transmission would soon leave the Chevrolet Cruze stable. That sad bit of information came by way of VIN decoder documents submitted to the NHTSA by General Motors for the 2019 model year.

For now, the stick shift lives, both in gasoline- and diesel-powered Cruzes. However, an update to the 2018 VIN document suggests an early arrival for the continuously variable transmission.

The only change to this year’s doc is the addition of a “Chevrolet Cruze (CVT)” to the vehicle line category, joining L, LS, LT, Premier, and Diesel trim levels in both manual and automatic guise.

While a CVT would help drivers wring extra fuel economy out of the model’s 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder in the absence of a stick shift, it wouldn’t do anything to help the diesel model. That model loses the six-speed manual next year, docs show, leaving only a nine-speed automatic that sinks highway fuel economy from 52 mpg to a far less appealing 45 mpg.

The CVT’s belated appearance in the 2018 doc points to a mid-year introduction of the tranny, though the extent of its availability remains a mystery. Another mystery is the supplier. In 2016, Dan Nicholson, GM’s vice president of global propulsion systems, said the automaker was “fairly bullish” on CVTs for front-drive vehicles up to a certain weight limit, with future CVTs potentially manufactured in-house or though a partnership with Ford. GM tapped Nissan-owned Jatco for the CVT in its Chevrolet Spark.

There’s also a CVT found in the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid.

U.S. Cruze sales peaked in 2014 with 273,060 vehicles sold, sinking each year since. Last year, as the model’s Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant weathered a series of shutdowns designed to tame a bloated inventory, some 184,751 Cruze sedans and hatches found American buyers. Sales over the first two months of 2018 reveal a 32.8 percent drop from the same period in 2017.

Lordstown’s plant manager, Rick Demuynck, claims the automaker remains committed to the model.

H/T to Bozi Tatarevic!

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Carguy Carguy on Mar 06, 2018

    I am not sure that Jatco is really the best choice for a CVT supplier. Despite being owned by Nissan, Nissan and JATCO have had rather ugly and public spats over what they called "customer satisfaction issues". If you're going to go the CVT route at least get one from a reputable supplier.

  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Mar 07, 2018

    Hopefully this will end better than the CVT GM developed in conjunction with Fiat for the Saturn VUE and ION Quad coupe. Nearly a 100% failure rate at a low number of miles. This makes no sense. The entry level wants a car that's reliable, good on gas and that can be inexpensively operated and repaired.

  • Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
  • Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)