General Motors chief in North America confirmed that Chevrolet will bring its diesel compact car to the U.S. and "seize" on ground that VW has lost.
"People who drive diesels, love diesels. And so there is a customer base there that wants to drive this type of vehicle and have this type of performance. What we're doing is providing that option," said Alan Batey, president of GM in America.
Batey said the second-generation Cruze will be available with a diesel engine first as a sedan, then eventually as a hatchback next year as a 2018 model year. The diesel engine would be available in most models, including all trims of the Cruze hatchback.
Batey said both cars will be offered with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 9-speed automatic. Separately, GM officials confirmed that the diesel engine in the Cruze will displace 1.6 liters, but they wouldn't divulge any specifics. A 1.6-liter turbodiesel announced for the 2018 Chevy Equinox makes 136 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.
"We were going to do a diesel anyway. For us to add the U.S. market it was going to happen anyway," Batey told us. "There are lower fuel prices now, and we've seen the move toward large crossovers and trucks. But we've also seen the other side of that, when fuel prices can change. And if they change we know that these vehicles will be there."
Batey didn't specify how many diesel cars Chevy plans on selling, but he did say that there could be enough defectors from VW to capitalize on those former owners.