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GM expects rapid diesel adoption through 2020

Despite laggard sales of the Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, General Motors still has plans to introduce diesel engines into more of its passenger vehicle lineup. When the diesel version of the Chevy Cruze was first introduced over a year ago, Chevy sales chief Don Johnson said that the vehicle would achieve 10 percent of the product mix.
 
Just over a year later, only 5,974 of the diesel-powered Cruzes have been sold, representing just two percent of all Cruze sedans sold in the United States. For comparison, over 46,000 Volkswagen Jetta TDIs (which admittedly has a lot more marketing, history, and mindshare with consumers) were sold during the same period.
 
Two percent is a long way from ten percent, but Chevy’s Rick Kwiecien says that “Cruze diesel sales have been solid and consistent month-to-month, and the Cruze diesel is meeting our sales expectations.”


Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel
 
And it now looks as though GM will double down on diesel engines in the next few years. GM’s VP of global powertrains, Steve Kiefer, says that cars and light trucks could account for up to 10 percent of the overall U.S. auto market by the year 2020. Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit organization that backs clean diesel engine vehicles in the U.S., recently reported that diesel sales in the U.S. market are already up 25 percent through the first six months of 2015 (year-over-year) and represent 4.2 percent of the overall vehicle market.
 
GM wants a piece of that action and next year will introduce a 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine for its brand new mid-size Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups.


2015 Chevy Colorado
 
Chrysler is the only other domestic manufacturer to offer a diesel engine in its light-duty vehicles including (Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram 1500). German automakers BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and Volkswagen also offer a plethora of vehicles with diesel engine options in the U.S.
 
Chevrolet’s current generation full-size pickups and recently introduced full-size SUVs would make great platforms for a diesel engine, although it remains to be seen what passenger cars — other than the Cruze — would make a great fit for diesel power.
 
“The Chevrolet Cruze diesel will be the first of many diesel-powered passenger cars General Motors will offer in the United States,” Kiefer added.

Sources: Automotive News, Wards Auto, Diesel Technology Forum





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