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GM Holden Brings Diesel Astra to Australia

Astra 5-door CDTi

GM is adding two turbocharged diesel five-door hatchbacks to its Astra lineup in Australia. The Astra is Australia’s best-selling European-import car, and these are the first diesel models of that line offered in the country, Holden Chairman and Managing Director Denny Mooney.

The Holden Astra (Opel) CDTi models offer 1.9-liter turbo-diesel engines in 88 kW/118 hp (automatic transmission) and 110 kW/147 hp (manual transmission) versions. The Astras offer European cycle fuel economy performance of 5.8 liters/100km (41 mpg US) for the 110 kW/manual model and 7.4 liters/100 km (32 mpg US) for the 88 kW/automatic mode.

Holden Astra 1.9L CDTi
(a)European drive cycle
Power rating 88 kW 110 kW
Transmission 6-speed automatic 6-speed manual
Fuel consumption
(l/100 km)(a)
7.1 5.8
Fuel economy
(mpg US)
32 41
Emissions rating Euro 4
CO2(a) 192 157

Both models are Euro-4 compliant. The 110kW model with the manual transmission emits 157 g/km of CO2; the 88kW with the automatic transmissions emits 192 g/km of CO2.

The six-speed manual DOHC Astra diesel produces 110 kilowatts of peak power at 4,000rpm and 320Nm of peak torque at 2,000rpm. The six-speed automatic SOHC Astra diesel variant produces 88 kilowatts of peak power at 3,500rpm and 280Nm of peak torque at 2,000rpm.

The engines feature Garrett turbochargers with charge-air intercooler and common rail injection.



Great for Australia, but what about the US? Does GM really believe, as they claim, that there's no market for small, fuel efficient vehicles in the United States?

Urban Review

Wow, that is a great looking car! Why is it GM gives us ugly sedans like the Cobalt while other countries get efficient and compact cars? They claim no market exists but wouldn't they need to offer a vehicle to see if a market exists? Besides, they are guilty for promoting the sedan over hatch mentality in the US.


I think that the US market it's not aware of this type of vehicles (Diesels) and EPA/CARB are not helping doing the right decisions. It's something like having the Titanic sinking and a another liner passing by offering help and getting as response something like this:

-Thank you, but we think that the colour of your lifeboats does not comply with Tier XXX bin YYY even if they support much more persons and have heating, we will expect for the models of the next year. Meanwhile we hope to sink gracefully.

Mark A

The canned answer for all of these questions about "why dont they bring these to the US" should be that they will not meet all 50 state diesel emission standards here in the US. I am sure they would love to sell them here. But there will currently be only one vehicle sold here in the US that will meet the 50 state standard. And that Mercedes will only do it with some sort of "urea" injection to treat the diesel exhaust, if I understand it right.

Carmakers selling here in the US must meet stringent emission and crash standards, with economy and functionality, unfortunately, coming in third in these three requirements. The safety advocates will not ease their pressure, and the polution advocates will not ease their pressure, hence cars like these will never be seen here.


I'm sure the "Ethanol Lobby" has something to do with keeping diesels out of the US market -- smells like another "Pork Barrel" project gone wrong!!


I've come to the conclusion that GM does not offer cars like this for one reason. It's too fuel efficient. GM has always sold gas guzzling cars. There is a link between GM and big oil. If GM wanted to sell this car in the US it would. They would solve the emmisions issues and I have no doubt that any modern car would pass US crash tests with little or no modifications.
I even wonder why we have such stringent emmisions requirements for diesel passenger cars. GM can and does sell diesel SUVs and trucks that have less stringent emmisions regs. Do you think these regs got this way without industry involvement. I've seen too many times when the industry says "We do what 'some government agency' tells us". This is there reasoning. The EPA has set such stringent regs as to make the sale of diesel passenger cars not feasable. However, who is telling the EPA to set regs? You'll see GMs lawyers and paid representatives 'helping' to make these regs.
Bottom line is that these stringent diesel regs keep out the foreign competition.


China has and will have a new dirty coal plant coming on line every two weeks for the foreseeable future, blowin who knows what our way...and we(EPA/CARB)are worried about diesel NOx emissions missing some spin-the-wheel spec by tenths of a percent with ULSD mandated just days before these specs are. These guys need to take another meeting.

Lou Grinzo

This kind of article makes my head hurt. I swear, GM has to be the best example ever seen of corporate multiple personality disorder.

I just don't understand why GM outside the US sees the need to meet the market's needs (and seems to do a very admirable job), while inside the US the very same company tries to defy reality and bend the market to match its desires.

If GM brought this car to the US, even with a gasoline engine that got about 35MPG highway, it would still be a huge step up. Would it compete head-to-head with the Civic, Corolla, Fit, Scions, and Yaris? It would almost have to do better than the Aveo and Cobalt.

Rafael Seidl

There is this strange notion that the Big Three are somehow in sinister collusion with EPA and CARB in a desparate bid to keep fuel-efficient cars off American roads. It's not quite that simple.

EPA and CARB have regulatory authority over air quality only, based on the Clean Air Act. Fuel economy is the purvue of the Dept. of Transportation (CAFE) and the IRS (gas guzzler tax).

No-one, not even W, has dared critizise the high priests of emissions for perhaps overshooting the target. The CW is that vehicle emissions are always too high, irrespective of the values. As long as someone, somewhere is exposed to an increased risk (however slight) of contracting or aggravating respiratory disease or cancer, vehicles must become cleaner at any cost. To my mind, that is an overly narrow view because there are substantial costs (e.g. war in Iraq), both human and financial, whose root cause are the gas-guzzling transportation technologies that EPA and CARB effectively mandate (by blocking most economically viable alternatives).

Add to that the lunacy of decades of mollycoddling the UAW and the consequent inability to turn a profit on anything that weighs less than ~3500lbs, and you end up with the status quo.

You can be sure that GM and others would love to sell modern turbodiesels in the US, given current fuel prices. It's just that US voters have decided that local air quality is sacrosanct and the lives of American soldiers overseas are expendable.


The US legislators have chosen the road of very tight NOx restriction over fuel economy. It's that simple.

European emissions controls can hardly be called lax!! It's just that we have a more balanced approach to the emissions vs fuel economy trade off.

I'm bored of this EPA/CARB tight diesel legislation on passenger cars when your heavy trucks and even big SUVs with diesels are very heavy polluters so it's clearly NOT for actual emissions reasons.

I see GM has a very bad reputation here and speaking as a European that surprises me, GM makes good prodcut over here but from what I can see, GM has, until now, failed to take advantage of it's global reach to

a)save on development costs and b) sell good products in the USDM.

Don't tell me it's just to do with legislation either, do you think that the US Auto industry couldn't make a very good case, both from and engineering and a strategic standpoint, for being allowed to import these types of cars?

I think where GM has gone wrong is the follow the leader mentality rather than going out there and, using a global basket of great products shuffled appropriately, making the market the success it really should be.

They have tried this recently and have had a 50% hit rate but they've done some crazy things too such as the Daewoo/Chevorolet re-badge debacle over here: most Europeans when asked to play word association with Chevrolet say Corvette. And that's it. That's what Chevrolet means to us. However, in the US, it means cheaper carsso they've just spent a fortune re-branding Daewoo (a cheaper Korean brand) as Chevrolet and throwing away all that brand association as well. Not only that but they PAID good money to throw away all that brand association. So the globalisation product adoption has to be played carefully.....

Whats in a name

Man, Rafael, you just love beating the same drum. So the list of things that are causing the Big Three's problems are:

* The fact that emissions and fuel economy are not regulated by the same organization
* labor unions
* US voters
* car buyers

I'm sure the management teams are glad to know that they have been building the right cars and making the right decisions; it is the world and market that are wrong.

The solution to this is to build the same vehicles, but with slightly more efficient engines. If a couple kids die, whatever. Anything would be better than having to build better cars.


Well in fact the problem is simple. Poeple who buy small fuel eff cars in the us dont tend to go to gm even when gm has th exact same model made in the exact same factory as a car company that they do buy from. Gm cant make people buy thier cars they can however make cars thier customers will buy. As for this car its very likely that while they can make a profit making and selling it outseide the us they cant making outside and selling inside..

There is also the very real option tjat gm may be poining the well in america so they can kill off the uaw and get profitable enough to compete.. or that with china rising gm doesnt give a flying bleep about its factories in america and just wants to wait it out till the last american factory closes and they make profits in china.They are after all hiring like mad there. With china do they have to give a crap about the us?


I just got back last night from Melbourne-Australia.

I can tell you that Aussies are paying the equivalent of $6.00 per gallon of gas! [$1.50 per liter]

However, they also have a huge selection of small [sub-compact] [e.g. Mercedes A-200] cars from several manufacturers around the world and that the USA will never have the pleasure to see and drive. One VERY importants thing though... after more than one week in Melbourne I saw only a few Range-Rover SUV, one or to BMW X5, ZERO Pick-up trucks, except for a small Ford model which is only a p-u-t version of their taxi/police car, and mostly a very efficient tram/public transport service.
Apparently in NZ is even worse; they can only afford to drive 3 days per week because their gas prices are through the roof!

The US has a lot to learn from the Aussies, but as usual, this country will do anything to stop a potential progress toward a oil-free society.


PS: Anyone wants to move to Australia?

Rafael Seidl

What's in a name -

it was of course a GM management decision to mollycoddle the UAW by offering to pay high wages plus retiree pensions and health care. Back when the promise was made, it looked like a cheap solution. Instead, it has become a huge millstone around the Big Three's heads (especially for GM). Today's managers in Detroit simply no longer have very little financial leeway. Note Bob Lutz' efforts at improving product quality and interior design, something that initially ran counter to GM's culture of beancounting. Note the sale of 50% of the profitable GMAC financing arm to pay for the generous voluntary redundancy offer to all hourly workers in the US (and some at Delphi). These measures are only neccessary because the union contract forbids layoffs and requires a jobs bank for those no longer needed. Management's hands are tied by decisions made many years ago, mostly by its predecessors.

Of course, the Big Three sought to mitigate this problem by aggressively lobbying Congress to keep CAFE lax and exempt trucks, the one segment that was profitable until oil prices shot up.

However, EPA and CARB did indeed raise emissions standards against the wishes of the auto industry. CARB's ZEV policy is mostly a sop to California battery makers. These regulations do indeed prevent Detroit from offering diesels, the one thing they could do at short notice to boost their fortunes. We'll see how successful the new two-mode hybrid from GM/DCX/BMW is in the marketplace - the first models aren't due until 2008.

allen zheng

On top of that, the Detroit 3 must improve their reliability and longevity of their vehicles. More and more people drive farther than before (eg. exburbs). if they are going to have a 36,000 mile warranty for key mechanical parts, it is going to run out in 2-3 years for owners/leaseers. Then they are stuck with costly repair bills. Although there is a niche industry for additional/ extension insurance/warranty, most see the 3 year tag and head over to Honda or Toyota. While there are some vehicles here and there that are top of the line as to reliability that are from GM or Chrysler group, overall the best brands are Japanese, or luxury specialty, or even Korean (Hyundai). At least get the UAW to crack down on quality bugs.

Tony Chilling

California battery makers?
Advanced batteries come from Japan, Massachusetts Nevada, Japan, and China.

Users Yes! makers no.

from a a Battery Hugger.


Fred - thanks - we do pay a bit for our petrol however really it has fostered a smaller car culture here which is proving to be a good thing. We have an "Import Parity Pricing Policy" that puts on a 30% tax.

"One VERY importants thing though... after more than one week in Melbourne I saw only a few Range-Rover SUV, one or to BMW X5, ZERO Pick-up trucks, except for a small Ford model which is only a p-u-t version of their taxi/police car,"

That Ford Falcon is one of our LARGE passenger cars. :-)

tom deplume

GM's pension problems stem from not investing in a diversified portfolio. The UAW let the pension plans to invest too much in the US auto industry. OTOH the teamsters invested in many things other than trucking and is in good shape even if large trucking companies go under.

Whats in a name


> However, EPA and CARB did indeed raise emissions
> standards against the wishes of the auto industry.

Of course it was againist the wishes of the auto industry. If allowed, the auto industry would still be making carbaurated cars with no catalysts. For example, look at the availability of PZEV cars in areas not regulated by CA's emissions laws. There are reasonable financial reasons why this is the case, but in the end the profit motive must be directed to achieve the clean-air needs of society, not the other way around. The way this is done right now is through regulation (I would prefer a sales-time emissions tax, personally).

> CARB's ZEV policy is mostly a sop to California
> battery makers.

I've heard a lot of conspiracy theories from both sides concerning the ZEV mandate, but this one is ... innovative. Care to provide more details?


> On top of that, the Detroit 3 must improve their
> reliability and longevity of their vehicles.

I agree with Bob Lutz on this one: I think the new cars from the Big 3 mostly have great quality and reliability. Unfortunately the main experience people have with American cars comes from the older cars on the road. I personally think the lack of focus on quality cars (instead of trucks) in the mid-80's to 90's is a larger liability to the Big 3 than their pension plan.


The mother of all GM problems is that they are making bad vehicles, no matter the size. I bet their corporate philosophy is: “the worst and cheapest parts which will hold through warranty period”. Every year list of these faulty parts increases, the last item was radiators. This list include: leaky gaskets, squeaking belts, swelling coolant pipes, rusting out exhaust, cracking interior plastic, short-living fuel pump, alternator, starter, high tension wires, coolant pump, rubber elements of suspension and steering, engine sensors, electric components, AC, etc. No wonder 5 year old GM car is the cheapest among all others. Where they can not afford to risk quality, components are still good, like engine head gasket, transmission, brakes, and robust body.

GM is the last to offer new technological improvements such as DOHC, valve timing, roller cam followers, tuned intake, multi speed transmission, rear independent suspension, rear disk brakes, etc.

As a result, fuel efficiency is low and emissions are high.

To be honest, Ford is not far ahead, and Japanese also are guilty with some corner cutting, like rusting exhaust, rear drum brakes, and not fully independent rear suspension.


I find it interesting that post Katrina, Bush weakened emissions regs on refineries to ease supply issues on petrol (gas), perhaps he should have looked at allowing an increased number of modern diesel cars to be imported so as to reduce your national petrol (gas) requirement a bit!

Rafael Seidl

What's in a name -

the insight that ZEV was intended to drum up business for local corporations came from one of my lecturers, Dr. Berg. He had for many years been the person in overall charge of emissions certifications for Mercedes-Benz and was informed of this rationale verbatim by the folks at CARB. At the time the ZEV legislation was drawn up (note: CARB influenced it, but the CA assembly turned it into law), the potential suppliers were different from the ones we see today. Unfortunately, my lecturer did not elaborate which specific companies had been involved in the lobbying effort at the time.

Of course, business interests were not the only factor in getting ZEV enacted. Even today, CARB is refusing to abandon its dream of EV cars, awarding ZEV credits to qualifying technologies such as HEVs instead. Nevertheless, some 2% of annual CA sales by volume manufacturers are already supposed to be pure EVs or FCs. The same applies to NY, MA, VT, ME. Collectively, these 5 states comprise a third of total auto sales.

Note also that back in the 1980s, CARB actually lauded MB for its early efforts to introduce the wall-flow diesel particulate filters we have today. Sadly, back then, the control systems simply were simply not advanced enough to achieve reliable operation and adequate longevity and the project had to be aborted. Today, MB is looking to re-introduce diesel cars to CA with the new Bluetec system (DPF + SCR).


hey people way to stay on topic.
anyway, the scary thing about this car is that the more powerful engine emits less emissions and consumes less gas. sorry, but that is really, really messed up.

Whats in a name

> the insight that ZEV was intended to drum up business
> for local corporations came from one of my lecturers,
> Dr. Berg. ...

An unsubstantiated, unprovable conspiracy theory concerning companies that likely don't exist? Well, this is the Internet, so I guess it's par for the course. I honestly don't believe there were any legitimate battery players in CA even then, but I also don't doubt that there were lobbyists pushing both directions. Even if a company wasn't legitimate, this is no reason not to push an agenda.

On a more positive note, I have found that the CARB people have consistently pushed EV's forward for one reason: the massive contribution of 'gross polluters.' In general, emissions problems don't come from the masses of well-running vehicles (no matter how bad they were when they were purchased)-- they come from the small percentage of cars that is almost dead, but not quite. Punched out pistons, blown head gaskets, dead spark plugs, bad O2 sensors -- whatever the cause, modern engineering has allowed engines to run far past the time when they were running correctly.

The main advantage of EV's is that they can never become gross polluters, no matter what happens. This is why fuel cell vehicles were so readily accepted as a substitute, and why PHEV's are still not accepted at the gold standard (the highest level of the EV mandate).

Since this is a Diesel thread it would be good to note that one advantage of Diesel engines is that they do not fail in the same way as gasoline engines. Anecdotally, they fail more slowly, and when they reach end-of-life they tend to essentially fail completely. In other words, they are mediocre all the time, instead of good and then very bad.


Poor Aussis!
And for the Diesel loving chaps I recommend a trip to Paris ! You can not sit even in your Hotel room with open windows because of the ubiquitous Diesel fumse. Even in Europe people becomeing aware of the deadly side effects of Diesel-pollution. Only Toyota has introduced a clean Diesel engine so far. The European companies are rather ignorant on that issue. Only stricter laws will force them to produce cleaner Diesel vehicels (current Diesel cars produce in avarage 10 times more dangerous fumes than gasoline engines. They rather hope cleaner Diesel fuel itself would solve the porblem. So please wait until the clean Diesels are avaible on the market or buy a current Toyota D-CAT (that the German and French car maker hate because the clerks in the European Union enviroment agency got a hind that is possible).

The problem with future clean Diesel cars is you can buy hybrid for the same price than (gasoline Hybrid will be cleaner anyway)! Thats the problem. European car maker are aware of the high cost of clean Diesel engine. So they try to fight against stricter emission legislations. Guess why! Because of the technological gab between Japans Hybrid technology and the first own trails (10 years gap!)

Of coures as has already been stated. The heavy rucks and light truck are a problem to. But here in opposite to the privat byer of a car the consumer are big transportatopn companies! Tell them that there operational cost will increase because of the expensive clean-Diesel technology. Should not be simple to convince them to agree to higher prices.

Anyway, the main solution against air pollution would be to reduce the general use of motor transportation. But who would like the reorganisation of our towns?

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