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Old 02-11-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default GM wants to sell Americans on diesel






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FORTUNE -- General Motors Co. is attempting to bury bad memories of failed diesel cars from the 1970s and 1980s. The Detroit automaker is attempting to turn to a fresh page with the new Chevrolet Cruze Turbo Diesel. The latest version of Chevrolet's (GM) popular Cruze compact aims to attract car buyers now served mostly by Volkswagen's diesel models. Built in Lordstown, Ohio with an engine imported from GM's Opel subsidiary in Germany and adapted to use in the U.S., the new model's fuel efficiency is rated at 42 miles per gallon on the highway.

GM declined to say how many vehicles it plans to sell -- but the hope is that buyers will give the high-mileage model good reviews. Should that happen, GM might find justification to build diesel engines in the U.S. and offer diesel in other vehicles.

Chris Perry, a GM marketing executive, said the Cruze Turbo Diesel "is primed to win over diesel devotees and compact car buyers with its performance, torque and fuel economy." Global engineering expertise developed "a world-class, low-emissions engine to give U.S. and Canadian customers a car that's both fun to drive and practical at the pump."

MORE: Toyota wants to win in pickups
Starting in the late 1970s, GM sold a diesel-powered Oldsmobile that suffered from technical glitches, leading to class-action litigation and a settlement on behalf of angry consumers. A diesel-powered Chevette was sold through 1986, with no particular success. Not only did the Olds engine debacle fail to win adherents, it detracted from the company's reputation for engineering prowess.

Studies showed that American consumers equated the word "diesel" with dirt, smoke, noise and smell -- based on their experience with diesel-powered trucks and buses. Advanced diesel engines for cars have proven clean, quiet and efficient, but no U.S.-based manufacturer has wanted to take a chance with buyers.

But an older cohort is giving way to a new generation that doesn't really know diesels. If they drove Mercedes' diesel-powered E350 BlueTec, they'd likely be believers. Chrysler is planning to sell a diesel version of its Grand Cherokee; likewise, Mazda will import a Mazda6 sedan with a diesel.
"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."

MORE: Motor City requiem
VW has carved out a niche of enthusiastic, satisfied owners of diesel-powered vehicles. Mercedes-Benz has introduced its BlueTec line of diesels that sell for $50,000 and more to high-end buyers. "We expect to beat (VW) Jetta," said Cristi Landy, a Chevrolet marketing executive at the Chicago Auto Show, in terms of price, mileage, and performance. The Cruze Turbo Diesel will start at less than $26,000, compared with the $26,325 starting price for Jetta Diesel.

GM sold half a million diesel-powered cars outside the U.S. last year, including 33,000 Cruzes. With a bit of luck, the Cruze Diesel could find an audience, giving GM another flavor of its popular compact. But the bigger payoff will be if GM is able to introduce the engine option across its model lineup -- a boost it badly needs.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:26 PM   #2
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Isn't GM the company largely responsible for ruining the image of diesel cars in the US?

edit: I cun reed:
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Starting in the late 1970s, GM sold a diesel-powered Oldsmobile that suffered from technical glitches, leading to class-action litigation and a settlement on behalf of angry consumers. A diesel-powered Chevette was sold through 1986, with no particular success. Not only did the Olds engine debacle fail to win adherents, it detracted from the company's reputation for engineering prowess.
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:29 PM   #3
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had one bad news, it was the head and tranny too
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:23 PM   #4
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Studies showed that American consumers equated the word "diesel" with dirt, smoke, noise and smell -- based on their experience with diesel-powered trucks and buses.
Sadly, it's 2013 and people still think this way.
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Old 02-11-2013, 02:40 PM   #5
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I credit some of that to the Fact large diesel powered trucks go unregulated while cars get regulated to non-existance.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:03 PM   #6
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Jetta TDI starts at $23k. Shouldn't the Cruze do better than 42 mpg highway if the Eco version gets 40 mpg?
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:20 PM   #7
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Maybe they can start by lobbying the government to quit whatever it is they're doing that makes diesel fuel more expensive than premium gasoline. It's a good thing our TDI gets 50 mpg...too much lower and it would be cheaper to buy a 30 mpg gas car.

I'm pretty sure diesel is cheaper to produce than gas, yet somehow it stays 20% higher at the pump than premium gas. Good luck selling a bunch of diesels around here if that doesn't change...
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e11ys View Post
Maybe they can start by lobbying the government to quit whatever it is they're doing that makes diesel fuel more expensive than premium gasoline. It's a good thing our TDI gets 50 mpg...too much lower and it would be cheaper to buy a 30 mpg gas car.

I'm pretty sure diesel is cheaper to produce than gas, yet somehow it stays 20% higher at the pump than premium gas. Good luck selling a bunch of diesels around here if that doesn't change...

http://blog.gasbuddy.com/posts/Why-d...85481-832.aspx
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by woody06967 View Post
Jetta TDI starts at $23k. Shouldn't the Cruze do better than 42 mpg highway if the Eco version gets 40 mpg?
Any idea if the Evo version actually hits the 40 mpg in real world? I know the TDI does significantly better than EPA numbers in real world. Wonder if the Cruze diesel will be the same.


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I'm pretty sure diesel is cheaper to produce than gas, yet somehow it stays 20% higher at the pump than premium gas. Good luck selling a bunch of diesels around here if that doesn't change...
Yeah I remember when I was younger (before I even started driving) that diesel was 10-20 cents cheaper than unleaded. I don't know the history behind the price rise in diesel, but I was always told that diesel is cheaper to produce than gas as well. It is confusing why diesel isn't cheaper but I assume some of it is due to taxes?
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:43 PM   #10
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That all sounds like manufacturer/distribution excuses except for the difference in taxes. Fortunately all of our fuel is relatively inexpensive here, like all our other consumables but diesel really shouldn't cost more than gas. I recall reading that consumption in the US is more like 3 million barrels a day of diesel and 9 million barrels a day of gas. 2% via passenger vehicle consumption is a grossly misleading statistic.

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Any idea if the Evo version actually hits the 40 mpg in real world? I know the TDI does significantly better than EPA numbers in real world. Wonder if the Cruze diesel will be the same.
I think it does, or close. There seems to be a lot of variation between brands with the ratings anyway, even within gas only vehicles. I always did better than the ratings with Honda products, but the Golf TDI ratings are ridiculous. 30 city 42 highway and over the first 20k miles of ownership I've averaged 43.5 mpg combined. Forced induction diesel power delivery is awesome too, it really makes me want to cross shop a TDI Touareg when the MDX needs replacing.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Not-EWRX View Post
I credit some of that to the Fact large diesel powered trucks go unregulated while cars get regulated to non-existance.
What makes you say this?
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by woody06967 View Post
I think it does, or close. There seems to be a lot of variation between brands with the ratings anyway, even within gas only vehicles. I always did better than the ratings with Honda products, but the Golf TDI ratings are ridiculous. 30 city 42 highway and over the first 20k miles of ownership I've averaged 43.5 mpg combined. Forced induction diesel power delivery is awesome too, it really makes me want to cross shop a TDI Touareg when the MDX needs replacing.
Yeah that is what I have heard about the TDI. The few people that I know that own them, always talk about how they average way more than EPA. So there is that.

I have no experience with the Cruze Eco so wasn't sure if that was one of those that had very optimistic EPA numbers but in real world never reached those numbers. To make the cost of diesel make sense for me, I would want at least 20% better MPG over the gas car. If the Cruze diesel gets in the 50's mpg that would be great, but if it is only a few ticks higher than the Cruze Eco then I'm not sure what the benefit is? I guess the added torque is nice and the longevity of the diesel engine. But meh for a every day driver of a car.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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Yeah that is what I have heard about the TDI. The few people that I know that own them, always talk about how they average way more than EPA. So there is that.

I have no experience with the Cruze Eco so wasn't sure if that was one of those that had very optimistic EPA numbers but in real world never reached those numbers. To make the cost of diesel make sense for me, I would want at least 20% better MPG over the gas car. If the Cruze diesel gets in the 50's mpg that would be great, but if it is only a few ticks higher than the Cruze Eco then I'm not sure what the benefit is? I guess the added torque is nice and the longevity of the diesel engine. But meh for a every day driver of a car.
Agreed... it's definitely a meh driving experience aside from the puff of torque at 1500rpm, which is why in my opinion you also need to have a toy vehicle with 400 hp The TDI is an awesome work / trip car though.
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 53x12 View Post
Any idea if the Evo version actually hits the 40 mpg in real world? I know the TDI does significantly better than EPA numbers in real world. Wonder if the Cruze diesel will be the same.
Like most cars, FE in the Cruze Eco depends on how you drive it. Being turbocharged, mileage plunges quickly as your foot gets heavier. The 6-sp manual has a really tall 6th gear and if you drive it at normal speeds on a long highway trip it does indeed reach or beat 42 mpg.

The Jetta TDI is the same. Long highway trips? 45+ mpg is possible. More typical 50/50 city driving with trips <10 mi? You're lucky to hit the EPA estimates. The difference is Jetta diesels tend to attract more than their share of "road warriors" with 50+ mile highway commutes, which skews the reports you see online.

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Originally Posted by 53x12 View Post
Yeah I remember when I was younger (before I even started driving) that diesel was 10-20 cents cheaper than unleaded. I don't know the history behind the price rise in diesel, but I was always told that diesel is cheaper to produce than gas as well. It is confusing why diesel isn't cheaper but I assume some of it is due to taxes?
Depends heavily on the season, at least here in heating oil country. Diesel is cheaper in the summer because nobody buys heating oil. Gasoline is cheaper in the winter because people do more driving in the summer.

<--- Used to own a 2000 Jetta TDI. My mom still has it, she's shopping for a new car and the Cruze Eco 6sp was near the top of the list.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:55 PM   #15
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we need more diesel.

. . . and EVERY non-commercial GM diesel before the Duramax was horrible.




*I know nothing about commercial GM diesel engines, but they were probably horrible too.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:58 PM   #16
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I recall reading that consumption in the US is more like 3 million barrels a day of diesel and 9 million barrels a day of gas. 2% via passenger vehicle consumption is a grossly misleading statistic.
You seem to be ignoring the fact that the vast majority of diesel vehicles on the road are semis that get 6-8mpg and are driven 10 hours a day.

The tiny spatter of diesel passenger cars are, likely, on average driven less than 2 hours a day and get 35+mpg.


2% doesn't sound like an exaggeration to me.
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