DETROIT — The new 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel passenger car unveiled yesterday morning at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show is a bold statement about the future for clean diesel cars in the U.S, said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
“The Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel will be a key factor in taking the success of clean diesel as a competitive fuel-efficient technology to the next level,” said Schaeffer from the Chicago Auto Show.
“The Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel is coming at just the right time. New car sales are exceeding expectations and confidence in the new generation of diesel cars is at an all-time high, as evidenced by the double-digit increases in diesel sales in 20 of the last 24 months,” Schaeffer said. “In addition, the availability of diesel fuel continues to expand to beyond more than half of all U.S. stations.”
With automakers set to introduce more than 20 new clean diesel vehicles in North America this year, consumers will have almost double the number of choices currently available.
“This tremendous and consistent growth in clean diesel cars in the last two years is particularly noteworthy since it has occurred at time of economic recession, a flood of fuel efficient vehicle choices along with some of the highest diesel fuel prices we have experienced,” Schaeffer said. “Even in the face of these significant challenges, diesel buyers see the big picture and long-term value by investing in record numbers of clean diesel cars and SUVs.
“Today clean diesels are competing with many advanced technologies. According to a recent January 29 study by JD Powers and Associates, fuel economy is the number-one factor in vehicle choice. Most diesel car owners report real-world fuel economy that often exceeds window stickers and posted EPA values, no matter whether they are driving in the city or highway,” Schaeffer said.
U.S. Automakers Adding Diesels to U.S. Showrooms
“The Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel shows another dimension to General Motors range of fuel-efficient powertrain choices, joining the Chevy Volt, hybrids and Flex Fuel Vehicles already available. Earlier this year, both Chrysler and Ford announced new diesel vehicles for the U.S. and General Motors announcement today signifies that all three of America’s top automobile manufacturers are making strong commitments to diesels.
“That the gasoline version of the Chevy Cruze has been extremely popular in the U.S. and the diesel Cruze has been well received in Europe, Australia and other international markets, all bodes well for the Cruze diesel to be successful in the U.S.” Schaeffer said.
While the new Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel will carry a 2014 model year designation, it is expected to be available in the U.S. market by the second quarter of 2013.
Several Automakers Adding Diesels to U.S. Market
“Already In the past two months, new diesel vehicle announcements have been coming in rapid succession,” said Schaeffer. “Mercedes-Benz has announced it new 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML250 BlueTEC SUV diesel that will be powered by 4MATIC all-wheel drive. At the Los Angeles Auto Show in December, Audi announced four new clean diesels for the U.S. in 2013 and Mazda confirmed it will be the only Asian automaker to offer a diesel passenger car in the U.S. with its new SKYACTIV-D engine.
“At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, Chrysler unveiled its new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel and Volkswagen demonstrated its diesel/plug-in hybrid CrossBlue S.U.V. concept car.
“And at last week’s Washington Auto Show, Mazda’s SKYACTIV gasoline and diesel engine technology was recipient of the inaugural ‘2013 Green Car Technology Award’ from The Green Car Journal. In addition, Ford has announced its new 2014 Transit diesel van will make its U.S. debut later this year,” Schaeffer said.
Bosch Predicts 54 New Clean Diesel Vehicles In U.S. By 2017
Clean diesel auto sales increased by 24 percent in 2012 over 2011, while the overall U.S. auto market increased by 13.5 percent. Bosch, a leading global technology supplier that supplies clean diesel engines for numerous U.S. and international automakers, predicts that 22 new clean diesel vehicles will be introduced in the U.S. this year and more than 50 new diesels will reach the U.S. market by 2017.
“In Europe, more than 50 percent of new auto sales are diesel vehicles,” Schaeffer said. “Many auto analysts predict that U.S. diesel sales will increase from three percent to as much as 10 percent by 2020.”