GM Promises More Diesel Vehicles in the U.S.

General Motors Company is looking to launch more diesel-powered cars and light trucks in the U.S. according to the company’s VP of Global Product Development Mark Reuss.  The announcement came during a media roundtable event held at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month.

The Chevrolet Cruze is the only diesel powered vehicle currently offered by the company, but Reuss said the company plans to make diesel engines available on other trucks as well as passenger cars.  The next two trucks slated to get a diesel are the 2016 model-year Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups.

General Motors Trucks executive engineer Jeff Luke said the company is also considering offering a diesel option in a number of full-size pickups.  In the past, GM has said it will continue to develop its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC sierra full-size pickups.  The automaker currently offers five different diesel engines in 13 vehicles, including the Chevrolet Captiva and Malibu, in the European market.

GM isn’t the only U.S. automaker looking to expand its diesel offerings.  Chrysler Group LLC plans to begin offering its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine in the Ram 1500 full-size pickup around the end of next month.  In a recent interview Ram Truck President and CEO Reid Bigland said, “I think it is going to grow sales incrementally for those pickup truck customers that are looking for a diesel because it will be the only diesel engine in a half-ton pickup truck on the road,”

Nissan Motor Company is also considering offering a Cummins 5.0-liter V8 turbo diesel engine in its full-size Titan pickup in the U.S.  The engine is currently in development and will reportedly deliver more than 500 lb.-ft. of torque.

With the exception of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150, U.S. automakers have focused on full-size pickups and have been reluctant to embrace diesel technology due to consumers’ perception that diesel is more expensive and not as clean as gasoline.  Proponents argue that today’s “clean diesel” engines produce lower levels of greenhouse emissions, are more fuel-efficient and offer greater low-end torque than gasoline engines.  They also claim that diesel-powered vehicles also tend to retain their residual value better than gasoline-powered vehicles.

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