After almost a year of rumors, the Detroit News reports that General Motors will introduce the 2-liter Cruze diesel in 2013. Though GM has so far declined to comment, this is a big deal, for a number of reasons.
Volkswagen TDIs have been in short supply for Golf and Jetta models, and the market for them is clearly growing. GM wants to follow the path VW has pioneered. Diesel-powered Cruze cars have successfully sold elsewhere—in Europe and Australia, for instance, for some years.
The car should get around 50 mpg (combined), which puts it in the Prius class for fuel economy.
The decision to offer a diesel makes particular sense in that the Cruze has now topped the June charts as the best-selling car in the U.S., beating out the Camry and Civic, which have topped the lists for years.
The diesel will almost certainly be some version of the 2-liter turbodiesel GM makes for the European and Australian markets: 148 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, similar to the figures for VW’s TDI.
The variables for GM will be:
- the price of gas, and the price of gas vs. diesel in 2013
- the extra cost of the diesel engine
- whether the U.S. versions will require extra emissions controls, like urea injection
- and, of course, buyer acceptance.
I think the company is betting on a rather small market share for diesel, at least at first, but with the potential for steady growth.
Can diesel in a popular car like the Cruze ever win a substantial segment of U.S. market share? Why, or why not?