There is without a doubt a big hole in the U.S. diesel market in wake of the Volkswagen diesel scandal. But it may not be there for long if General Motors has anything to say it about it.
The automaker is ready to step in and lure former Volkswagen diesel customers with the diesel Chevy Cruze.
GM Will Launch New Diesel Engine
Automotive News reports GM plans to launch a new 1.6-liter diesel engine for the 2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel, one so quiet engineers call it a “whisper diesel”. It’s being developed at GM’s powertrain plant in Italy. Current power numbers are 136-horses and 275 pound-feet of torque.
Automotive News quotes GM’s VP of global propulsion systems Dan Nicholson who talked about GM’s diesel plans while attending Center for Automotive Research meetings in Traverse City, Michigan this week.
“There are a lot of diesel intenders and diesel-loyal people who are looking for a brand and vehicles to go after,” said GM’s Dan Nicholson. “They tend to be more tech savvy than the average customer. And they won’t stop wishing for a diesel. And we’ll go after those customers.”
Nicholson says he believes the U.S. is still one of the diesel growth markets on the planet, despite Volkswagen’s TDI emissions cheating scandal.
Currently, Nicholson says GM is seeing strong demand for the diesel-powered Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups. Both trucks were delayed last year, when U.S. regulators enacted more rigorous testing in wake of the VW scandal.
VW Backs Away from Diesels
Meanwhile, Volkswagen is taking a big step back from diesels in wake of its scandal and nearly $15 billion settlement with U.S. regulators. Frankly, it’s really the only thing the automaker can do, give its TDIs are tarnished and aren’t as fuel efficient as advertised.
In June, VW’s CEO in America told Automotive News that VW won’t relaunch “clean diesels” as a core element of its brand identity in America. He also says tougher emissions coming down the pipe would make diesels extremely difficult to certify for U.S. sale.