Duramax Deferral: Emissions Delay Punts Straight-six GM Diesel to 2020 Model Year

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

General Motors’ new Flint-built, light-duty 3.0-liter inline-six turbo-diesel won’t be a late-year addition to the company’s full-size pickup lineup, after all.

Apparently, the engine’s emissions certification process was not the speedy affair GM had hoped for. Customers will now have to wait for the 2020 model year before getting their hands on the 460 lb-ft oil burner.

The news comes by way of Automotive News, which got its hands on a memo sent to dealers Tuesday. As a result of a “slight delay” in the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions certification process, dealers must now cancel and resubmit their orders, the memo said.

Production of diesel 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 models should begin “soon,” the automaker said.

Since Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal in 2015, the EPA has taken a more rigorous approach to vetting diesel powerplants, leading to delays in certification. Fiat Chrysler’s EcoDiesel affair certainly didn’t help the EPA’s paranoia, either. The same situation is occurring overseas, where certain German product launches ran into unexpected delays as a result of the slower process.

With its new 3.0L Duramax, GM hopes to best a Detroit rival in light-duty diesel performance. Ford launched its 3.0L Power Stroke diesel for the 2018 model year and, while the Duramax powerplant bests it in terms of output (277 hp and 460 lb-ft, versus Ford’s 250 hp and 440 lb-ft), the GM engine’s fuel economy and towing figures remain unknown.

The automaker claims drivers will see 95 percent torque output at 1,250 rpm, with peak torque coming online at 1,500 rpm and staying until 3,000 rpm. Like the Ford, the only transmission available with the new GM diesel is a 10-speed automatic.

By adding an available diesel across multiple trims, GM hopes to boost the average transaction price of its new-generation pickups even further. Last quarter, the company said full-size ATPs were $8,040 higher than than of the old-gen pickup in the same quarter a year earlier. Helping the figure, of course, was the fact that full production of Silverado and Sierra regular and double cabs didn’t start until March.

[Image: General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on May 22, 2019

    I think the diesel is cool, but do they expect to sell many of these? I've seen exactly *one* F-150 with the 3.0l Power Stroke, and it was a King Ranch. I do see a fair number of RAM 1500 EcoDiesels, but still maybe less than five percent (heck, maybe one percent) of the RAM 1500s I see.

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on May 22, 2019

      "Multiple Trim Levels" will help. Many of the other brands restrict the trim levels available with the diesel.

  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on May 22, 2019

    EPA is justifying the delay how? What is the amount of time required for certification? Fail on the part of EPA.

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.