GM Finally Is Embracing Diesel Market With New Plans, Projections – Forbes
General Motors General Motors finally has drunk the Kool-Aid when it comes to clean-diesel power. It plans on adding an array of new diesel passenger models to its Chevrolet Cruze diesel, and executives have embraced even the optimistic projections of diesel advocates when it comes to forecasting the expansion of the market.
The company’s endorsement of the future of diesel power is likely to add significant momentum to the technology. Diesel-car registrations were up by 30 percent through last year since 2010.
Steve Kiefer, GM’s vice president of global powertrain, told the industry’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., that diesels in cars and light trucks could grow to 10 percent of the U.S. market by 2020. That echoed an identical prediction recently by Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, a trade group for diesel power.
“The Chevrolet Cruze will be the first of many diesel-powered passenger cars General Motors will offer in the United States,” Kiefer told the gathering. “We will continue to introduce more diesels as appropriate and as the market accepts them.”
The next next diesel in the GM stable will be available in the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups. The company is re-entering that segment, and a high-mileage clean-diesel offering makes sense to attract financially sensitive buyers who want the capabilities of a pickup but will be paying thousands of dollars less than for GM’s full-sized pickups, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Diesel offers torque advantages over gasoline that will help lend important truck-performance characteristics to clean-diesel versions of Colorado and Canyon.
Next to be outfitted for diesels could be light-duty versions of Silverado and Sierra. Chrysler already offers a diesel-powered competitor in the Ram lineup. Previously, diesel engines could be found only in massive form in heavy-duty pickup trucks.
Diesel is challenging hybrids as the most popular type of “green” vehicle in the U.S. market. But hybrid registrations increased by 65 percent from 2010 through 2013, more than double the percentage gain by diesels. Diesel advocates believe one reason for the gap was that there were 50 choices of hybrid models in the U.S. market and only 23 diesel cars and SUVs.
GM’s commitment to more diesel models joins those by Chrysler and German automakers to comprise 16 announced new clean-diesel options in the United States from later this year through 2017, the Diesel Forum said.