GM Touts Euro-Developed 2013 Chevy Cruze Diesel

Perhaps emboldened by the fact that its Cruze nameplate is Chevrolet’s global best seller, and hoping to create anticipation for a 2013 diesel variant co-developed in Europe for the U.S., GM is putting German automakers on notice.

“The market for diesel cars in the U.S. is small at present, but is expected to grow due to Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements and expected increases in gas prices,” said Mike Omotoso, powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive. “So far, the German automakers haven’t had any diesel car competition in North America. GM could do well with it, particularly with younger buyers who don’t have the old prejudices against diesel.”

This statement about a small market is quite true. In 2011, clean diesels comprised not quite 0.8 percent of the U.S. passenger vehicle pie – 101,624 clean diesels out of a total of 12,734,356 passenger vehicles. It may be early to determine how the Cruze will measure up as an overall value proposition against the top-selling Jetta TDI, but GM said it will make sure the already successful Cruze is a contender.

Since its launch in 2009, over one million Cruzes have been sold worldwide. In the U.S., 231,732 were sold in 2011. And of the already existing European market diesel, the company reported around 33,000 were sold.

GM’s Powertrain Engineering Development Center in Pontiac Mich.

Preparing for homologation and consumer acceptance in America, GM said its powertrain engineers have an open line of communication between the project leaders in Turin, Italy and colleagues in Pontiac Mich. These engineers are refining “a world-class engine that delivers outstanding fuel efficiency and torque while providing a smooth, quiet ride,” GM said.

Collaboration is also happening with GM engineers in Russelsheim, Germany who are developing the accessory drive, acoustic cover and other specialized components.

GM said it has recently invested $26.5 million in five dynamic benches in Turin to refine its vehicles’ noise and vibration and chassis dynamometer testing.

The GM Powertrain Engineering Development Center in Turin, Italy is the project leader for the U.S. Chevrolet Cruze diesel. Of the Turin facility, GM said it is “the engineering center responsible for the engineering for the majority of the over half a million small-displacement GM diesel engines sold throughout the world last year.”

“U.S. customers are going to be pleasantly surprised when they get a chance to drive the Chevrolet Cruze diesel,” said Mike Siegrist, 2.0L diesel assistant chief engineer. “Our global team is providing diesel engineering expertise that will give U.S. Cruze customers great quality, torque and fuel economy in a car that’s both fun to drive and practical at the pump.”

As part of normal testing, GM said it is beating on Cruze diesel test mules in temperatures ranging between -40 deg. F, and 158 deg, F, and up to altitudes of 10,000 feet.

“We’re able to put the diesel engines through rigorous testing to ensure they operate optimally under a wide range of conditions and also can be integrated seamlessly into the production vehicle,” said Pierpaolo Antonioli, managing director of the Turin Powertrain and Engineering Center. “We’ve pushed these engines in the labs so that the customer can depend on them in real-world driving situations.”

Outwardly, the 2013 Cruze diesels will not be noticeably different from gasoline variants. And if anyone ever perceived drawbacks with diesels, GM said direct injection technology will yield excellent drivability. Emissions also will be at an all-time-low due to particulate-capturing filtration systems.

Last year, VW sold 51,530 Jetta diesels in this small but predicted-to-grow segment, so we shall see how the Cruze breaks into the clean diesel market in GM’s own back yard with competition tweaked in VW’s European back yard.


  • MrEnergyCzar

    Maybe this engine will make it into the Volt….. good for them to come out with this…

    MrEnergyCzar

  • CharlesF

    @MrEnergyCzar, I have commented many times about how Diesel hybrids do not make sense, but the Volt is a different beast. It would be a better fit than with any other hybrid. I do see two problems. First is the cost. Second is that GM caught hell for the Volt not being AT-PZEV. If the Volt goes Diesel, I do not see how it could also be AT-PZEV.

  • yuio

    good, lets see how well it preforms in fuel efficiency. I’ve seen what the 3.0L Mercedes diesel from a couple years ago can do… and it’s downright impressive… about 35mile/gallon, and that’s a much bigger engine than a car.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    @ CharlesF,

    How is the Volt a different beast from other hybrids out there?

    –Anyway, I guess it’s good for GM depending on price of the car, price of diesel and the fuel economy. GM makes a big deal out of the fuel efficiency of the Cruze Eco (EPA 42mpg HWY), but to be quite honest I have only seen a couple of Eco’s out there compared to a lot of the non-Eco’s. And if the fuel economy is close to that of the non diesel Cruze Eco why would you buy the diesel when diesel is more expensive than gas and diesel isn’t available at every gas station? That’s exactly what John and Jane Q. Public are going to ask.

    Well whatever GM chooses to do is up to them. It doesn’t affect me. I don’t and buy their product.

  • Dan On Route 66

    Will it run on biodiesel? Many recent diesel-powered vehicles are engineered to run on dino-diesel only, or token blends (B5) of biodiesel. Use of domestically made biodiesel is the best way to shut off funding to Middle Eastern terrorists.

  • Greg

    Release the damn thing now in 2012. The reason diesel sales are so small is because there is very little choice. If we had half the diesel cars that are available in Europe then diesels would probably account for 20% of sales.

  • DrLou

    I think the GM diesel Cruze could be posied to do very well over the VW diesel if the GM 2.0 or 1.4 liter engine uses a timing chain instead of a timing belt. The VW TDI is a good engine but for some reason, VW decided to give it a timing belt. Who knows why?

  • DrLou

    I think the GM diesel Cruze could be posied to do very well over the VW diesel if the GM 2.0 or 1.4 liter engine uses a timing chain instead of a timing belt. The VW TDI is a good engine but for some reason, VW decided to give it a timing belt. Who knows why?

  • DrLou

    I think the GM diesel Cruze could be posied to do very well over the VW diesel if the GM 2.0 or 1.4 liter engine uses a timing chain instead of a timing belt. The VW TDI is a good engine but for some reason, VW decided to give it a timing belt. Who knows why?

  • Joe

    Why did you have to post this same message three times, DrLou? Got your point after the first. At any rate, bring this thing to U.S. market gm. My test drive is awaiting.

  • danwat1234

    I honestly don’t think a diesel version will yield that many more MPGs. What if they beat the VW Passat(43MPGhwy), maybe bringing hwy to 45MPG with an automatic transmission. That’s only 6 more than the gas automatic version. It’s good for economy, but diesel fuel in itself contains around 17% more energy than a gallon of gas, so even at 45MPGhwy, the engine itself isn’t any more efficient, it’s just that Diesel contains that much more energy…Is the net energy still lower? Does it take way less energy to convert crude dino oil into low sulfur Diesel than to gas?
    That being said, Diesels in Europe and other countries make sense because emissions requirements are lower, hence MPG goes up and up compared to gas.

    Homogenous Stratified Charge (HCCI) gas engines are the future, which partially don’t use any spark plugs!

  • Daddy Biscuits

    The enemy of efficiency within ANY internal combustion engine (ICE) is heat–it must be dealt with as a byproduct of combustion but doesn’t contribute to getting you to where you’re going. Gasoline engines are 100% efficient space heaters…but unfortunately we want them to move us to work, shopping, birthday parties, etc. Diesels are, too, for that matter. In any ICE mechanical energy is harnessed from the expansion of the fuel/air mixture as it is burned. Carbon from fuel + oxygen from air = H2O, CO2, heat (primarily) and some oxides of nitrogen and perhaps some carbon monoxide and maybe even some unburned/partially burned fuel called soot. Because the temperature of the gaseous mixture is far greater during and after ignition and it is in a confined space some of that energy can be harnessed as movement. It’s that percentage of energy translated to movement that differentiates the efficiency of Diesels and gasoline engines in vehicles. The primary advantage Diesel has over gasoline is the speed at which it burns…it’s far slower than that of gasoline. This means that more of the fuel’s energy can be captured by a descending piston following ignition than can be with gasoline. This means less of the energy results becomes heat that a car’s cooling system must dissipate–read waste. Two design factors common in Diesel engines that are a result from this are their undersquare bore/stroke ratios (longer stroke than bore) and a tendency to heat passengers poorly in cold climates…making auxiliary block heaters, radiator covers, etc. a common option included in Diesel cars. Diesels also don’t suffer pumping losses as they aren’t throttled by a restrictor plate/butterfly, they’re strictly controlled by the amount of fuel that is squirted into the combustion chamber. Diesel’s primary problem is that all of the fuel is rarely completely combusted (soot) and the overheating of air (80% nitrogen) results in oxides of nitrogen–NOx. Talk of adding hydrogen injection to Diesel engines to accelerate flame speed in a controlled manner may cure Diesel of its shortcomings.

  • Jon Blaeser

    Im looking for a diesel car as we speack and i any have a vw to look at for the best mpg. I had a chevy chevet that got 60 mpg when i was alot younger and i wish i would of not sold it now. If you need someone to test drive your new car in a cold climate im in the northern parts of Minn.
    Thanks and you have a great day.
    Jon

  • heyfred3000

    In Italy, this is the engine in the top-line (LS) Cruze. It transforms the car with its 163 hp and 260 ft lb of torque – far, far above what the turbo-gas version has. Even tho it is viewed a large car in most places there, it had no automatic in 2009 and 2010 because the manual gives the diesel such an advantage (well over 50 mpg) that few cars would be ordered with it. Where I live (summers) 80% of cars are diesel, and 90% are manuals. Even the Chrysler mini-van comes with a 2.8L turbodiesel there.
    With diesel VW Jetta sales having gone from 20% a few years ago to almost 40% now, there is clearly a recognition of the advantages diesels offer. I’ve been driving a Mercedes diesel, manual shift, for 30 years (not the same car!) but I’m getting a Cruze if they bring the same car they sell in europe to the U.S. I wish I could justify buying a new car in Italy, but for just 3 months a year, my ’92 Citroën will have to do.

  • heyfred3000

    Hope you’ve got a garage – and get a block/oil heater if your garage is detached. And even then, don’t get caught with “summer” diesel in the tank if its going to 15º or below (you know you can add up to 10% gasoline to keep diesel from gelling in an emergency). Diesels are great in snow, esp with a manual shift, because they have enough torque just above idle speed to move the car easily but not so much it spins the tires like when you have to rev a gasoline engine to get a car moving.

  • Leonard

    This car might be popular in AZ, CA and NM. Hopefully it will get around 40MPG City…then it will be worth looking at. Funny how people just don’t like diesels here in America. My mom drove a 1983 Mercedes 300D and loved it…

  • Kamrem

    Hi guys,

    This is the best timing chain info site in Sweden. Information is in swedish, but we can help you with any questions in english.

    http://www.bilzone.se

    Best regards,
    Kamrem

  • Kamrem

    Hi guys,

    This is the best timing chain info site in Sweden. Information is in swedish, but we can help you with any questions in english.

    Best regards,
    Kamrem

  • danwat1234

    I hope it comes standard with auto start/stop and electrical energy recuperation.

  • Clermont1

    I agree.
    Our selection is horrible, but I also realize why. Our good ole boys in Washington put so many regulations on the car companies, they are only going to import what they can guarantee a profit on. Old-man mentalities on diesel have prevented so many great diesels from coming into the states (Toyota!?, Audi?).

    I think this GM news is great only because it will make the German companies and maybe Mazda & Toyota pay attention and ship a few more models over. Can you say Audi AVANT please!?! Toyota Hilux (Tacoma)!?! ugh.
    The best running cars in the world are blocked from the US by regulation & $$. (Yes, some people are educated on diesel enough to know that they simply run cooler and longer than gas burners – and now with LESS emissions. Going to the pump less is a bonus).

    Personally I love the Audi A3 (jetta TDi), but an A4 or A6 wagon makes a little more sense for a family of 5 and 3 dogs who refuse to drive SUV’s. BMW 320d wagon? E320 Bluetec wagon?, Audi A4 Avant? hello, washington it’s time to wake up. Thank you GM for at least attempting to wake a sleeping giant.
    I want a German diesel wagon by spring of 2013.
    Send your anger, corrections, and beefs to me here: http://twitter.com/Clermont1
    Cheers. Clermont1

  • Clermont1

    Thank you for this, Daddy Biscuits.
    We have to educate our own population. Keep it up.
    NW

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