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article image2014 Cruze will be GM’s first U. S. diesel engine car since 1986

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By Hector Garingalao     Feb 9, 2013 in Driving
Detroit - General Motors unveiled its first diesel car since the Chevy Chevette in the 1980s. The Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel will offer a 2.0-liter turbo engine, an estimated 42 mpg on the highway, while having an almost similar torque as that of a Camaro.
It was reported that the Cruze's diesel engine is already being used in European cars like Opel Astra, Insignia and Zafira. The Cruse Diesel will have a sticker price of $25,695. That is about $8,000 more than a base Cruze LS. The new diesel car will come with a six-speed automatic transmission, the Chevy MyLink infotainment system, as well as two years of scheduled maintenance.
Diesel engine car enthusiasts undoubtedly will respond positively about an American made diesel car in the U. S. since almost three decades ago. However, some auto analysts already pointed out that the diesel car will be a tough sell. IHS Automotive analyst Rebecca Lindland stated, "It's going to take some creative selling by dealers because it's a technology that a lot of Americans still view negatively." GM diesel cars soared consumers in the 80s.
A new U. S. diesel engine car will likely strive to penetrate auto market because of the following: the sticker price, the price at the pump and public perception.
The Cruz’s base Eco model, which has a 1.4-liter turbo engine, is $5000 less than the new diesel car. Also, the Eco has aerodynamic shutters and a smaller fuel tank, coaxing an estimated 42 mpg highway as the diesel model. Currently, diesel price per gallon is a little over 0.50 cents more than gasoline. Also, Unlike European diesel car owners, Americans generally look at diesel cars as noisy and dirty. Back then, GM's diesel engines were sluggish, noisy and unreliable. Those problems tarnished the reputation of and killed the market for U.S. diesel cars.
According to chief engineer for Chevy small cars Gary Altman, "The engine in the U.S. Cruze diesel is the cleanest operating diesel engine ever produced by General Motors."
Cristi Landy, director of marketing for Chevy small and electrified cars, is realistic about the diesel car, "We don't expect right off the bat to be converting a lot of gas-buying compact car owners." She also said that GM to whatever extent will tout, "the great driving performance, the torque, the quiet driving at highway speeds."
Chevrolet is only taking on other foreign non-luxury brands that sell diesel cars in the United Stated. The Volkswagen for instance has 20% of its U. S. Jetta sales as diesel models. "We expect the Cruze to compete head-to-head with the German diesels, particularly the Volkswagen Jetta TDI," said Altman.
"Unlike drivers of gasoline-powered cars, diesel owners often exceed their EPA fuel economy estimates," Landy said about what dealers can tell prospective buyers as a sales pitch. That point can help in differentiating the diesel and Eco models in the showroom.
The diesel engines will be built in Germany, and the cars will be assembled at the GM's Ohio plant. It is also in the Lordstown, Ohio plant where all other Cruze models are made. GM expects its diesel model to represent only about 10 percent of Cruze sales once it is available in car dealerships. At the moment, the U. S. automaker is not counting on the Cruze diesel to be a big seller.
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