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Old 02-18-2017, 06:08 PM   #1
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GM Anticipates Big Demand for Diesels

Good news for consumers. Wonder if other brands will follow suit. Mazda has been trying for diesels for a while but they seem to be having trouble with EPA standards in attempting to make diesels more cost effective and efficient (i.e. without urea tanks, etc.). Easier to reach CAFE targets as well when you are a car maker with diesel in your arsenal.

The Early 1980s are Back! GM Anticipates Big Demand for Diesels

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The Early 1980s are Back! GM Anticipates Big Demand for Diesels



Volkswagen’s emissions scandal may have killed that company’s diesel presence in North America, but it didn’t kill demand for diesel engines in general — especially ones that don’t pollute like Chernobyl and end up in the trash heap.

At least, that’s General Motors’ take on it. The automaker hopes to fill the void created by VW’s oil-burning absence and, in doing so, score some points with the EPA. With diesel engines now available in five vehicles you won’t see on a worksite (and five more that you would), GM has high hopes it can erase memories of its 1980s diesel woes.

This year, the automaker will offer its Europe-sourced and EPA-approved 1.6-liter turbodiesel in the 2017 Chevrolet Cruze and 2018 Equinox, as well as the similarly updated 2018 GMC Terrain. Already, a 2.8-liter four-pot diesel can be had in the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon twins.

The move isn’t just about offering customers more torque than the models’ base gas engine can muster. How would any automaker turn down an opportunity to advertise a non-hybrid sedan that gets 52 miles per gallon on the highway? The engine’s availability also boosts GM’s corporate average fuel economy, putting it in the EPA’s good books.

Speaking to The Detroit News, Dan Nicholson, GM’s vice president of global propulsion systems said the “outlook for diesel in the U.S.A. is actually promising.”

“We definitely see certain segments reaching 10 percent penetration and yes, an upside potential of 10 percent overall,” said, adding that 9 percent of Colorado and Canyon buyers opt for the diesel model.

“If we hit that number on Cruze, we’d be delighted. We’d be happy with a lower number than that. We need to test the market and see where things are going.”

Unlike the short-lived first-generation Cruze diesel, which was offered only in high-end trim with an automatic transmission, GM saw fit to move its successor downmarket and offer a manual. That stick shift’s tall upper ratios allows the Cruze TD to reach its lofty MPG figure. The automatic variant, even though a nine-speed, achieves only 47 mpg on the highway.

GM is crossing its fingers and hoping that its high-tech diesels erase some of the stigma oil-burning mills once attached to the automaker. Its V6 and V8 diesels, offered from 1978 to 1985, offered impressive fuel economy for the day, but proved disastrous in practice. Sluggish performance and breakdowns ultimately killed GM’s diesel passenger car gambit, leaving the field wide open for German rivals.

[Image: General Motors]
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Old 02-19-2017, 01:45 AM   #2
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Always made sense to me to employ diesels to meet emission regs. I mean yea, you could employ hybrid powertrains instead, but these are probably just as expensive, and once you've factored in the extra design requirements for battery storage and other paraphernalia associated with hybrids, it's much easier just to stick a different engine in. Also, hyrbids in SUV's tend not to gain much in fuel efficiency, 10-15% if that, whereas diesels tend to get excellent real world figures, and make more sense in larger vehicles with more mass to move.

I'm glad you're getting them anyway, it's nice to see an evolving car market, even if it is extremely slow.
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Old 02-19-2017, 04:43 AM   #3
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God help GM if their diesels are anything like the 1979 Oldsmobile my brother bought. When California tried to do long term testing, 7 of the ten cars they tested had catastrophic engine failures before they reached 100k miles.

Once the initial disasters dust had cleared and people started looking at the real problems, they found the solutions would have only cost GM a few dollars to solve. The most important was to use forged connecting rods, versus the cheapest cast rods they could.

At that time you could not buy a Nissan-Datsun that did not have forged rods.

I remember riding 700 miles on one tank of fuel in my older brother's 1979 full size Oldsmobile. Back in the day when you were lucky to go 300 on a twenty gallon tank of gas in the same vehicle. Later Winston got a hand me down 300 SD from his father-in-law. Closing in on 300k miles the car was hit by one more idiot driver and protected his son from injury in it's last act on the highway.
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Old 02-19-2017, 03:29 PM   #4
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I wish GM rampant success, and hope they do a good job at it.

I positively love my first diesel (a 2015 Audi Q5 3.0 TDI). I can't say enough about this engine.

My gripe with ALL manufacturers, and moreso with regulators (read "governments") is they allow lobbyists and "auto industry experts" to dictate how emissions and fuel economy should be measured, so you end up with "clean" vehicles in the lab and virtually every vehicle made -- diesel or gasoline (petrol) powered -- pumping out many multiples of lab-legal emissions when operating in the real world. Similarly, the EPA published EPA fuel economy that real buyers can never hope to attain, but use these virtually useless numbers for "comparison purposes only". Yeah, if I buy a car that gets an EPA estimate of 30 MPG then I'll likely get better fuel economy that one that's rated at 15 MPG, but who knows what I'm likely to get in the real world?

Back to diesels: As long as you get reasonable real-world emissions, I don't care if you're burning gasoline, diesel, or bison dung. Love the noteworthy fuel economy and eyebrow-raising torque and acceleration from my 3.0 Liter, 428 ft-lbs diesel. Plus, it cost less to buy and operate than the equivalent Q5 Hybrid (granted, a particularly bad example of a hybrid).
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:37 PM   #5
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[moderator edit]

I wish GM great success with their new products, but my experiences, from working on vehicles for over 60,000 hours, is they have not convinced me, at this point, that I should trust them as much as I trust Mitsubishi to build me a car that fits my current needs.

$1000 for 30,000 miles, without a diesel, on the cheapest gas I can find.
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:59 PM   #6
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I have not experienced a US-made diesel passenger vehicle, but I am curious about them. I suspect they've made dramatic improvements from "the old days." I'd love to see GM turn the losing Dieselgate anti-diesel movement into a plus. I sincerely wish them huge success. This will be interesting, for sure!
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Old 02-20-2017, 04:46 AM   #7
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That new Chevy Cruze diesel @ 52 mpg highway (US) sounds good, sure it'll cost more but might be worth it.

http://www.autonews.com/article/2017...-charge-for-it
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:25 AM   #8
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I've heard people use cost as a deciding factor against diesel before, but it never made sense to me. They do cost more, but not much more, and if you shop around enough, you will pay the same, if not less than the petrol equivalent anyway.

Even if you did pay more, you get more when you sell it on, and statistically, they hold thier value better too.

The cost factor doesn't seem to put hybrid buyers off, they will very rarely see any cost benefit V's a fuel efficient ICE car unless they do super high miles, and yet I see people paying 25,000 to 30,000 for some hybrids anyway.
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:32 PM   #9
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Draigflag: The popularity of hybrids is due in no small part to all the rave reviews, good press, government financial incentives, and special privileges (like HOV lane use in some locales). A lot of folks embrace these beliefs!

I drive around smugly in a diesel, having done the number crunching myself, and having determined my oiler cost me less to buy, less to operate, and it performs better[1] than a comparable hybrid. But "common knowledge" says "hybrids are better." More accurately stated, US and Canadian government doctrine decrees that hybrids are better.

____
[1] The hybrid version got only slightly better fuel economy in city driving, according to the EPA numbers.
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