A few days back, the Associated Press broke a story about Chevrolet introducing a 50 mile-per-gallon, diesel-powered Cruze. In case you haven’t been following recent car sales numbers, the Cruze has been the best selling compact car in the U.S. for the past few months, and there’s good reason for that. It’s stylish, it’s comfortable and it’s priced right; in short, it’s the kind of car that Saturn should have been cranking out all along. You can get a Cruze with several engine options in America, and you can even buy it with a turbodiesel in other parts of the world (Australia, for example).
You can’t buy an oil-burner here, thanks to U.S. standards for diesel emissions. At the moment, ours are the strictest regulations in the world, and the Euros won’t catch up until the Euro 6 standard is implemented in September of 2014. Some automakers (Volkswagen / Audi, for example) already build engines that comply with Euro 6 and can be sold globally. Most do not, since it costs a significant amount of money to design, test and certify a new engine. You’ve heard automakers say “Americans don’t like diesels” for years, and that’s only partially true. A more accurate statement is that “Americans won’t buy enough diesels to make a new engine program financially advantageous. Yet.”
That changes after September 2014, when the world is again on a level playing field for diesel exhaust emissions. GM will need to certify their 2.0 liter turbodiesel for Euro 6 by then, so a Cruze turbodiesel becomes a very real possibility in later 2013 or early 2014. Look for small turbodiesels from other manufacturers as well, and don’t be surprised when diesel engines begin turning up in some unlikely places. VW’s Miata-fighting roadster, currently under development, is said to come with a TDI motor.
Source: Detroit News