General Motors dipped its toes in the water of diesel passenger cars with the introduction of the Chevrolet Cruze Turbodiesel (pictured) last year, and there will be more to come from the American automaker. According to Automotive News, GM announced at the recent 2014 Management Briefing Seminars that it plans to introduce more diesel passenger cars and light trucks within the coming years.
Apparently sales of the Chevrolet Cruze Turbodiesel have met expectations, and with many analysts predicting that diesel passenger cars will grow in market share by 2020, GM clearly sees an opportunity there. Other than the Cruze, GM’s only other diesel engine currently offered in the U.S. is the Duramax turbodiesel in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickup trucks.
Our bet is that GM’s full-size light-duty pickup trucks will be the first to receive one of these diesel powertrains slated for the U.S. At a GM event a few months ago, chief engineer for full-size and midsize trucks Jeff Luke told us that a diesel engine for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups was under consideration. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as a turbodiesel V-6 or V-8 would help these GM trucks compete with the efficient Ram 1500 EcoDiesel that has surpassed sales expectations so far. If these pickups receive a diesel, then GM’s full-size SUVs including the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon may be destined for more efficient diesel powertrains as well.
Beyond these truck applications, we are less clear about GM’s future diesel plans for passenger cars. Given that the Cruze’s 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder is already certified for the U.S. market, we might expect to see that engine go into smaller GM models, possibly in compact crossovers like the Chevrolet Trax and the next-generation Chevrolet Equinox. Otherwise, GM may be planning to bring some diesel powertrains from its European Opel products for use in larger midsize cars like the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick Regal.
Stay tuned for more news about GM’s future plans concerning diesel powertrains.