In Global Move, GM to Offer Diesel-Version of Chevy Cruze

According to GMInsideNews.com, an independent website, General Motors will begin selling the Chevy Cruze with a diesel-engine option for the 2013 model year. It will be the company’s first diesel-powered passenger car in U.S. in decades. Workers at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant where the Cruze is built were told about the diesel model last week.

Because the Cruze is essentially the same car worldwide, GM could utilize its 2.0-liter diesel engine already sold in several markets. According to specs from Australia, where the diesel Cruze is currently sold, the model delivers 41 mpg with its 5-speed manual and 34 mpg with the 6-speed automatic—using the Australian test cycle. It’s too early to tell, but a U.S.-based diesel-powered Cruze could compete on efficiency with the current gas Chevy Cruze Eco manual (28 city and 42 highway)—while offering much better performance.

With well over 200 ft-lbs of torque (compared to less than 150 in the Cruze Eco), a model powered by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel could handily beat the performance of the 1.4-liter turbo gas in the Cruze Eco model, though at a likely cost premium of several thousand dollars. The key to the added cost will be the route GM takes to reduce diesel emissions in order to meet California standards and sell the model nationwide.

Think Global

Car companies are increasingly leveraging global assets to create common worldwide product portfolios. Toyota and Honda, as well as Ford and Nissan most recently, are using the best technology from their far-flung centers of expertise, bringing high-volume cost-savings along with the latest features. In Toyota’s case, this has led to a global push for hybrid vehicles. Nissan is leading an all-electric campaign, and Ford is championing its EcoBoost engines as the most cost-effective path the building cars that consumers will want to buy.

With automakers planning an impressive roadmap of new efficient models, consumers will also have to expand their worldview by learning which alternative technologies best suit their driving needs. For example, while the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid can deliver 40-mile jaunts using only electricity, a diesel-powered Cruze might be the better option for drivers who frequently drive long distances. With an expected 40+ mpg rating on the highway, and power delivered throughout the torque curve—and most importantly a price tag that’s significantly lower than the Volt—a diesel Cruze could be compelling.

Diesel vehicles are well established as the fuel-efficient choice for the European market, while carmakers using hybrid gas-electric technology as the high-mpg strategy for Americans. The potential introduction of a diesel Cruze could help break this pattern—and pave the way for automakers to mix and match diesel and hybrid powertrains, with some plug-in models thrown into the mix.

The distinctions between efficient gasoline, diesel, electric and hybrids are blurring in one other way: according to GMInsiderNews, the 2012 Cruze will be get a push-button start, a feature commonly associated with hybrid and electric cars.


  • Charles

    This could put pressure on Ford to offer the new Focus with a Diesel.

    Edit note (feel free to delete or ignore): I am confident that Diesel should be capitalized as it is the name of the inventor of the Diesel engine, Rudolf Diesel. I know a lot of people treat it as a generic name, but would you write otto or atkinson when talking about spark ignition engines? Just trying to Rudolf his due.

  • Anonymous

    Not trying to throw cold water on diesel from GM, but I think it was ‘denied’ by GM’s spokesman, at least for now.

  • MICHAEL COATES

    While the GM denial is on the public record, the detail of the report from GMInsideNews, including factory codes, makes it sound like the news was just let out on a timetable other than the official GM one. My point in the story is that this is something GM now COULD do with little stretch. Lutz always was downplaying diesels as too expensive, but as gas prices creep back up again, that may become a moot point.

  • Anonymous

    From the article: ” Workers at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant where the Cruze is built were told about the diesel model last week.”

    Other media report: “General Motors’ corporate offices and the Lords-town plant are denying a report in GM Inside News about an upcoming Lordstown-produced Cruze model with a diesel engine.

    The report said GM management told workers at the Lordstown plant they would begin assembling the diesel-powered Cruze for the 2013 model year.

    GM spokesman Tom Read denied the report, however. He said no announcement has been made. [...]

    Jim Graham, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, and Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1714, which represent workers at the Lords-town Assembly Plant, also denied the claims.”

  • Anonymous

    From the article: ” Workers at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant where the Cruze is built were told about the diesel model last week.”

    Furthermore, I think it is dubious that the workers at the assembly plant were told so early. Even if the ‘rumour’ is true, it is likely at least 18 months away.

  • Dom

    I saw reports on this yesterday too… I REALLY hope they build this!! It would be the first GM car I’d be excited about in a long while. And please give a manual transmission version too! Though I’d expect that seeing as the Eco model has it. The Volt may be their PR darling, but the Cruze is a bread and butter car… and a good one at that I understand. A diesel version would be most welcome!

  • Allen Schaeffer

    While i will defer to the official announcements regarding new product launches, it’s hard to keep quiet about the leadership in diesel technology that GM has globally. We have seen (and driven) diesel versions of the Euro Opel Astra’s here on US soil that would be fantastic options for US consumers blending economical operation, fuel efficiency and spirited driving. Coupled with the legions of Duramax diesel engine truck fans buying those in record numbers, along with those masses clamoring for a smaller Duramax in light duty pick ups, you can see how GM has more tricks up its sleeve than just the Volt.

  • Anonymous

    In the UK, Chevy Cruze 2.0 diesel with A6 (Euro IV emission compliant)
    combined urban and extra-urban fuel consumption 42.2 mpg (Imperial gallon),
    CO2 emission: 177 g/km;

    Cruze 1.8 with A6 (Euro V emission compliant) 36.2 mpg (Imp. gallon),
    CO2 emission: 184 g/km.

    If you think to switch to diesel will help save climate change, think again.

  • Jay

    The community here has not yet understood that Diesel produces more CO2 per galon than normal gas. It is thus ridiculous to only state miles per galon. It should be CO2 per mile.
    Also the term “clean diesel” is misleading. Even clean diesel produces cancerogenous particles. For some reason noboday counts them so far. I hope that at some point someone will sue the clean Diesel community.

  • wxman

    @ Jay,

    What evidence do you have that “Even clean diesel produces cancerogenous particles”?

  • tapra1

    The key to the added cost will be the route GM takes to reduce diesel emissions in order to meet California standards and sell the model nationwide.LLA Tech

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