GM begins market positioning for Cruze Diesel in 2013; small displacement diesels to “fill an important niche”
GM expects that the North American introduction of a 2.0L turbodiesel engine on Cruze—one of the top-selling gasoline-powered cars in the US in 2011 and General Motors’ best-selling model globally—will establish Chevrolet as the only domestic automaker offering an American-manufactured diesel-powered compact car with a European-American developed engine. (Earlier post.)
The company suggests that the planned US introduction of the Chevrolet Cruze diesel will benefit from a growing interest in diesel cars, sales of which could double by mid-decade, according to market research firm Baum and Associates. Diesel car sales, which account for 3% of US sales today, are trending up, having jumped 35% in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.
Small displacement diesel engines could fill an important niche in Chevrolet’s diverse four-cylinder lineup. 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.—Mike Weidman, Cruze marketing manager
Diesel car sales grew more than 27% last year in the US, according to the Diesel Technology Forum. Baum and Associates predicts diesel to account for 6% of US car sales by 2015. General Motors sold more than half a million diesel-powered cars across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America last year, including 33,000 Cruzes.
We’re seeing more consumers willing to invest in more advanced technology, fuel-efficient vehicles. We’re really excited about what the Chevy Cruze brings to this segment. It’s already a successful car in its fuel efficiency and market acceptance. With GM’s advanced clean-burning diesel technology under the hood, Cruze stands to be a game changer.—Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum
Compact cars with diesel engines typically deliver more than 40 miles per gallon, spirited performance, strong durability and high lease residual values, according to GM—all attributes Chevy expects to be true of the Cruze Diesel as well.
|About one of every two US. service stations now offers diesel fuel, up from one in three a few years ago, according to Diesel Technology Forum.|
Historically, diesel cars have sold strongly in Europe, where the fuel is less expensive than highly taxed gasoline. In the United States, diesel fuel typically costs between 25 and 40 cents more than gasoline, but the difference has been trending downward the past couple of years, according to Schaeffer. When factoring in diesel’s relatively higher fuel efficiency, he said the cost differential appears less significant.
Consumers realize that today’s diesel cars are cleaner, less noisy and faster than they used to be, and have a relatively lower cost of entry than some hybrids and EVs. Consumers also are more receptive to diesel fuel because of $4 per gallon gasoline.—Michael Omotoso, powertrain analyst, LMC Automotive