With fuel economy targets still looming in the distance for automakers, General Motors is taking a diesel-centric approach to meet said targets. The Detroit News reports the automaker’s newfound love affair with oil burners is part of a strategy to ensure it meets the 54.5 MPG Corporate Average Fuel Economy targets of 2025.
Despite lobbying to reconsider the time frame, the EPA has upheld the CAFE targets, meaning GM is working double time on the diesel strategy. But, GM sees plenty of opportunities to expand reach for the unloved fuel in the U.S., too.
“The outlook for diesel in the U.S.A. is actually promising,” Dan Nicholson, GM’s vice president of global propulsion systems, said. “We definitely see certain segments reaching 10 percent penetration and yes, an upside potential of 10 percent overall.”
And the push for additional diesel models in the United States is also a chance at GM winning over scorned Volkswagen customers following the emission scandal’s various fallouts.
The first vehicle to arrive under GM’s diesel strategy will be the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze diesel, which was recently rated with a seriously impressive 52 MPG highway rating. Following the Cruze diesel, which is on sale now, the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox and 2018 GMC Terrain will arrive with the same 1.6-liter turbo diesel unit.
There is a wildcard, though. The 1.6-liter turbo diesel engine is currently manufactured by Opel. If you’ve been under a rock, GM is currently in discussions with PSA Group to potentially unload the Opel brand onto the French automaker. Should this occur, there are plenty of questions over what will become of GM-Opel’s manufacturing and engineering operations.