Chevrolet is primed and ready to introduce a diesel-powered version of their popular Cruze to North America, and they want to make sure U.S. customers are prepared.
The automaker released graphics recently that attempt to debunk misconceptions about diesel-powered engines. Diesel vehicles are wildly popular all over the world – Chevy sold 33,000 diesel Cruzes worldwide last year – but not in America.
Chevrolet is encouraged, though, by new figures that suggest U.S. buyers are more receptive to new technologies and diesel models. Market research firm Baum and Associates has found that diesel car sales in the U.S. increased by 35% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to Q1 2011. The firm expects diesel car sales to jump from its current 3% of the U.S. market to as much as 6% by 2015.
And why not? Diesel usually sells for a higher price than gasoline – currently about 25-40 cents more per gallon – but Chevrolet expects its U.S.-bound diesel Cruze to achieve at least 40 mpg to offset cost concerns. It will be interesting to see how the diesel Cruze stacks up against the 28/42 mpg rating of the Cruze ECO (pictured above). They also hint that the 2.0-liter turbo diesel will pack plenty of power, be reliable and hold their value well. The graphics they’ve released also attempt to debunk the idea that diesel engines are dirty, loud, uncomfortable and difficult in cold weather.
“Small displacement diesel engines could fill an important niche in Chevrolet’s diverse four-cylinder lineup,” Cruze marketing manager Mike Weidman said in a press release. “We recognize this technology’s considerable appeal, particularly with young male car buyers, and we are ready to win them over with quality, torque and fuel economy.”
The turbo diesel Cruze will be the only American made compact diesel vehicle available in the U.S. when it debuts, likely next year. With Ford and Chrysler recently both showing a willingness to experiment with smaller displacement engines, the diesel Cruze could open the figurative diesel floodgates in a U.S. market thirsting for relief at the pump.
GM sold more than 500,000 diesel-powered cars around the world in 2011.