General Motors’ Chevrolet (NYSE:GM) is looking to change the way its loyal American consumers buy cars by switching them to diesel. Chevrolet has taken a cue from Volkswagen who last year sold almost 120,000 turbocharged diesel vehicles in the U.S.
Last year, all sales for diesel vehicles, including the pickups from Ram, Ford (NYSE:F), Chevrolet, and GMC, jumped 25 percent. These sales are expected to reach one million a year by 2018. That is why Chevrolet is pushing the Cruze Diesel, which is assembled in Ohio and selling well in Europe. The Chevy Cruze is the only domestically made diesel passenger car, although the engine is made in Germany.
Even though GM produces about half a million diesel engines every year, it does not sell any passenger cars here ever since it tried in the 1980s and failed. This time, GM has come out with an engine designed to meet America’s stringent standards. Additionally, the Cruze’s 4.5 gallon tank needs refilled every 7,500 mile oil change. In order to encourage Americans to switch over to diesel, this service is provided free for the first two years.
The Cruze Diesel is soon showing up in 13 showrooms in the U.S., including ones on the East and West Coast and in the Great Plains. Dealers across the U.S. will get models in by the fall. The Cruze Diesel is competing with the Volkswagen Jetta DTI.
Detroit News reports that the Cruze Diesel is not as comfortable as the Jetta DTI, but it does come with more horsepower and better fuel mileage. The Cruze’s 46 highway mpg beats every vehicle in the North American market except for hybrids.
The Chevy Cruze Diesel may just be the start of diesel vehicles in the U.S. More than half the cars in Europe are already diesel, and the number of diesel cars in America is expected to double next year. Chevrolet may be among the first U.S. automakers leading the way for diesel vehicles in America.