Rumors of a diesel Cruze in the U.S. market have been circulating for months, but GM CEO Dan Akerson has confirmed the car in an interview with USA Today.
The Cruze will likely be powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, and Akerson hinted of fuel economy in “the low to mid 40s,” when equipped with an automatic transmission. The diesel Cruze would be the first non-truck diesel offering from an American automaker since Chrysler discontinued the Jeep Liberty CRD back in 2006.
The diesel Cruze will go head-to-head against Volkswagen’s well established Jetta TDI, which gets an EPA estimated 30 mpg city and 42 mpg highway. Both Volkswagen and Audi offer numerous diesel options for U.S. buyers, and Audi has previously stated its intent to offer a diesel variant of every model sold in America.
One reason for the absence of diesel passenger car offerings in the U.S. has been the difference in emission regulations between the United States and Europe.
The U.S. currently has the strictest passenger car diesel emission requirements in the world, so certifying an engine for a limited American market has been a costly proposition for automakers.
The Euro 6 emission standard, due to be implemented in September of 2014, should level the playing field for automakers and make it easier to build a diesel engine for global markets.
Will this lead to more diesel offerings on this side of the pond in the coming years? No one knows for sure, but we certainly hope the answer is yes.