US Chevrolet Cruze will get diesel power in 2013
With the launch of Chevrolet Malibu to the public in April this year, GM made it clear that the United States will share the bow tie badge with almost the world. The globalization of the Chevrolet brand began with the debut of the compact Cruze car last year. Chevrolet premiered throughout Europe and Asia before its launch in North America. There are two ways to see Chevrolet's more international short-term results in the United States. The downside is that if Chevrolet is committed to staying away from its core market for 100 years, loyal customers in the US and Canada may feel ignored. However, the global Chevrolet shown in the recently launched Cruze has many positive factors. With the world's awareness of Chevrolet bow ties, North American consumers will also get some international flavors in cars sold around the world.
As diesel-engined vehicles remain popular in Europe (accounting for over 1/3 of the cars sold in most regions), the Chevrolet Cruze was equipped to meet the large demographic. Equipped with a 2-liter VCDi diesel engine, this version of the Cruze compact is quite a performer. Generating over 160 horsepower and 265 pounds-feet of torque, the Cruze VCDi achieves exceptional fuel economy with the high-pressure common rail diesel technology. Thanks to Chevy’s new worldwide vision, North American buyers will receive the chance to choose a diesel powerplant in upcoming Cruze models.
Officially announced by General Motors, a diesel engine will be added to the Chevrolet Cruze line-up for the 2013 calendar as either a 2013 or a 2014 model year vehicle. While the 2-liter VCDi engine would probably be the likely candidate for the upcoming Chevrolet compact car, GM is holding back exact details on the future powerplant option.
This will be the first entrance presence for a diesel-powered General Motors car in North America since the 1985. Developing a diesel engine during the late 1970s in the wake of gasoline price hikes and demands for better fleet-wide fuel economy, General Motors commissioned the engineers of now-defunct brand Oldsmobile to develop two V-8 and a V-6 engine to run on diesel fuel. From 1982 to 1985, these engines were shared with Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet vehicles. Though novel, the diesel powerplants quickly exhibited the American auto industry at its worse.
Perhaps due to inexperienced with diesel powerplants, the Oldsmobile-developed engines quickly demonstrated failures to due inferior design and construction. An experiment that ended after just three years in production, General Motors experience with diesel powerplants in cars ultimately resulted with a class-action lawsuit settlement where owners could claim reimbursement for 80% of the engine’s replacement cost. Besides injuring the Oldsmobile engineering, the GM 1980s failure with diesel car powerplants also stained the reputation for, at least, domestic cars using such an engine type.
Being fair, General Motors is no longer the same company it was in the 1980s. Through growing involvement in European markets as well as through the success of the heavy-duty pickup Duramax engines, GM engineers can better harness the benefits of diesel. Also since the 1980s, diesel technology itself has radically improved thanks in part to high-pressure direct injection and lower-sulphur fuel. While not exhibited on domestic cars, select Volkswagen and luxury brand Audi products have even a charming portrayal of diesel power in a passenger sedan. Diesel engines have also been finding favour in car-based crossover vehicles known on the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz ML350 Bluetec.
Information sources: Auto Weekly, General Motors, British news media. Image source: Chris Nagy, Chevrolet through British news media
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