General Motors thinks it can save diesel.
Volkswagen’s collapse has left a large segment of diesel refugees without a home. Now that VW is switching its focus to electric cars, it may find that many diesel customers would rather stay with their tried-and-true oil burners than migrate to electric vehicles.
Those people might find a loving new home in the General’s open arms.
Volkswagen singlehandedly created the “clean diesel” market here so it’s more than a little ironic that all of its efforts could now benefit a competing automaker.
An article at Automotive News said,
GM powertrain chief Dan Nicholson believes the company has a good shot at attracting VW owners who are selling their diesel-powered cars back to the German automaker as part of a settlement for cheating on emissions. Beyond VW expats, he’s gunning for a small audience of tech-savvy buyers who prefer diesels over gasoline-powered models.
The article also says that Chevy will offer a new 1.6-liter diesel in the Equinox and upcoming Cruze hatchback in hopes of luring some of those former VW diesel owners. The Cruze sedan, which has been offered with a 2.0-liter diesel option, will also get the new 1.6-liter mill and stand ready to pick up where the Jetta TDI left off.
The 1.6-liter diesel engine is already used in the Opel Astra, a mechanical twin to the new Cruze, where it makes up to 158 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque.
We don’t know anything about pricing or exact power the motor will generate in U.S.-spec just yet, but we do know the fuel economy numbers will easily top 40 miles per gallon.
The Equinox and Cruze diesels will hit showrooms in time for the 2017 model year.
There’s a downside to GM’s diesel risk though.
From January to September of 2015, 62,445 diesel-powered cars were sold in the United States. During the same time period this year, only 3,129 diesel-powered cars were sold. That catastrophic drop is almost entirely because Volkswagen and Audi stopped selling most of their diesels in the midst of the emission scandal.
GM is betting on some pent-up demand, but it’s possible American buyers have lost their taste for diesel.
Will Chevy’s new diesels tempt you into buying one?