OSHAWA, Ont.—General Motors is hoping history won’t repeat itself as it launches its first diesel passenger car in North America nearly 30 years.
Taking another shot at the increasingly popular North American diesel segment with the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze clean turbo diesel, the automaker is hoping to overcome the disastrous days of its failed Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and Chevrolet Chevette diesel experiments of the 1970s and 80s.
GM Canada announced it will launch the 2.0L turbo-diesel powered Cruze in Canada this summer.
“The Cruze clean turbo diesel is the perfect addition to an already extensive Chevrolet product portfolio here in Canada,” Marc Comeau, vice-president of sales, service and marketing for Chevrolet in Canada, said in a statement.
Aimed to compete directly with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI diesel, the Lordstown, Ohio-built Cruze is expected to get highway mileage as low as 4.6L/100 kilometres, according to GM.
The Cruze diesel comes equipped with a 2.0L turbocharged engine, which produces approximately 148 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque, and a six-speed automatic transmission.
“The 2.0L turbo-diesel comes to the United States and Canada with performance that will impress,” said Mike Siegrist, GM assistant chief engineer. “It will change perceptions of what a diesel car can be, while giving customers another fuel efficient choice in the Cruze lineup.”
The launch comes at time where demand for diesel vehicles is climbing steadily, yet their sales only make up a fraction of the North American market.
According to the automaker, diesel car sales make up only three per cent of the U.S. market, but jumped 35 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.
Citing research from automotive forecasting firm Baum and Associates, GM said diesel car sales are expected to account for six per cent of the market by 2015.
And now GM is hoping to bank on the success of the Cruze diesel in Europe—40 per cent of Cruze models there are diesel-powered—with a market hungry for cost-saving options at reasonable prices.
The diesel option adds to the Cruze lineup’s available 1.4L turbo, a 1.4L Eco model and 1.8L naturally aspirated engines.
According to GM, the Cruze diesel will have a Canadian sticker price of $24,945.