DETROIT - Chevrolet will introduce a diesel version of its Cruze to the U.S. market in 2013, building on its global powertrain expertise and adding to the popularity of the vehicle, which was first released to U.S. fleets and consumers in 2011. According to the company, the Cruze was one of the top-selling gasoline-powered vehicles in the U.S., selling 33,000 units.
The development of the Cruze's diesel powertrain has been a global effort with U.S. engineers in Pontiac, Mich., working closely with their counterparts at GM's diesel center of excellence in Torino, Italy. GM engineers in Russelheim, Germany, are supporting the program — which aims to develop a fuel-efficient, smooth-running, quiet engine — by developing the accessory drive, acoustic cover, and other specialized components. GM has committed $26.5 million to add five new dynamic benches at its Torino facility for climatic, noise and vibration, and chassis dynamometer testing.
According to the company, the latest generation of GM diesels has resolved the drawbacks associated with the previous engines. Precisely controlled direct-injection fuel systems create a smooth-running engine. Particulate-capturing filtration systems dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions.
Because of its higher compression rate in the engine cylinders and greater density of energy in diesel fuel, diesel-powered engines are able to produce more power per gallon than gasoline-powered engines, making them more energy efficient. While the diesel market is small in the U.S., the company expects that rising gas prices will make them a more popular option.