As of this morning, the 46 MPG highway, 27 MPG city Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is officially the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicle in the United States. And General Motors expects it to make up roughly 10 percent of Cruze deliveries in the U.S., according to Chevrolet chief of sales Don Johnson. The Cruze Diesel is Chevy’s first diesel-powered car in nearly three decades for the U.S. market, with the last being the 1986 Chevrolet Chevette.
“Quite frankly, it’s been a while since we’ve been out there with a diesel passenger car. So, we’ll see,” Johnson said. “I think success for us is going to be establishing Chevrolet as a technology leader that can offer a vehicle like that in the U.S. market when many other competitors don’t.”
Diesel-powered vehicle are seen industry-wide as a way for GM to quickly and easily increase its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) numbers. As a whole, diesels improve a car’s fuel efficiency by 15 percent or more, thereby improving an automaker’s fleet average for U.S. regulations.
General Motors director of Chevrolet small car and electrified vehicle marketing Cristi Landy said that the expectation for the Cruze Diesel, which goes on sale in 13 U.S. cities at the end of the second quarter and then in the fall U.S.-wide and in Canada, is to earn incremental sales that attract new customers to the Cruze line.
In 2012, the total share of diesel-powered vehicles in the United States was 3.1 percent, which were mostly made up of trucks. Research group LMC automotive expects this fitter to increase to 7.7 percent by 2018.