GM preps Cruze diesel engine for US roads

GM has confirmed that it will be leaning on some of its European expertise to develop the diesel engine that will power the Cruze when it hits US roads in in 2013.

Diesel engines are quite popular in Europe, while in the US cars with diesel engines have not exactly caught on with the average consumer. Interestingly enough, one of the gasoline versions of the Cruze – dubbed the Cruze Eco – is already providing hybrid-like fuel economy with up to 42 miles per gallon on the highway.

It remains to be seen if the diesel version of the car will be capable of exceeding the above-mentioned economy rating.

In any case, GM has managed to sell over 500,000 diesel powered cars across Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America – including 33,000 Cruze vehicles with diesel engines in those areas.

Why adopt a diesel model rather than a gasoline engine? Fuel efficiency and power, as diesel engines produce more power per gallon than gasoline engines. Presumably, this would allow the diesel engine to have a smaller displacement and still generate the same level of power as a gasoline engine.

“The market for diesel cars in the U.S. is small at present, but is expected to grow due to Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements and expected increases in gas prices,” explained Mike Omotoso, powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive. “So far, the German automakers haven’t had any diesel car competition in North America. GM could do well with it, particularly with younger buyers who don’t have the old prejudices against diesel.”

GM says it is committed to investing $26.5 million for diesel engine development – specifically for the Cruze. That money will be allocated for the installation of five new dynamic benches at the Torino facility for testing of important metrics such as noise, vibration, and chassis dynamometer gauging. The ultimate goal? To create a quiet, smooth, and powerful engine that will appeal to the American consumer.