Why Chevy's 46-mpg diesel Cruze is a big deal
The fuel-thrifty car now leads a fleet of vehicles that proves Detroit can compete with foreign rivals more known for fuel efficiency.
With Hummer dead, the SUV crowd shifting to smaller crossovers and companies such as Tesla (TSLA), Toyota (TM), Nissan (NSANY) and Honda (HMC) encroaching on both the luxury and commuter markets with plug-ins and hybrids, the folks at Ford (F) and General Motors (GM) had to adapt quickly.
And GM showed just how quickly it has caught up by announcing Thursday that its 2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel will get a whopping 46 miles per gallon on the highway, beating previous estimates.
That's not just some one-off number, either. Back in January, Kelley Blue Book compiled its list of the 25 cars hitting the road in 2013 with combined city and highway mileage of 40 mpg or better. GM and Ford alone accounted for six of the cars on the list. While that's still somewhat low compared with the nine 40-mpg cars Toyota produces through its main, Lexus and Scion brands, it's an accelerated step in the right direction for Detroit.
It's also a move the car companies have little choice in making. Under the latest fuel economy standards from the Obama administration, carmakers' new vehicle fleets will have to average 35.5 mpg or better by 2016 to be sold in the U.S. The price for missing that mark is $5 for every 0.1 mile over the bar for each vehicle produced.
That's a tough number to meet, even with the restrictions relaxed to just 26 mpg for trucks. But despite early wailing about how impossible that task would be, the U.S. automakers seem up to task.
Cars like the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid are already on the road, but newer models like Ford's C-Max line of Prius-style hybrids and plug-in hybrids and the all-electric Ford Focus are adding to U.S. automakers' high-mileage presence.
In fact, the Focus is now the subject of a dispute between Ford and Toyota over who makes the world's best-selling car. Ford claims it's the Focus and cites automotive research firm R.L. Polk's numbers to back it up. Toyota claims that Ford is nuts and that the Corolla is clearly the best seller by 300,000 rebranded units that Polk isn't counting.
That Ford is even in this position after having reported its largest loss in company history in 2006 and having had its corporate bonds considered junk as recently as last year is nothing shy of remarkable.
That GM is producing a diesel Cruze and regaining market share little more than four years after its bankruptcy and government takeover is just as solid a reason for Detroit to rev its engines again.
I currently own a vw Jetta TDI turbo diesel. First if you were standing next to this car you would not know it was a diesel. Its quite no black smoke no smell. I drive mostly city and some highway. I fill up one a month or less. Diesel is $0.30 more a gallon here in Houston. My average fuel cost per month is $72.62 or $871 per year. I drive an average 538.13 miles per month or 6456.82 miles per year. In 4 years I have had absolutely no cost except for my last oil change. I will keep my diesel and never go back to gas. 4 cylinder 150 HP over 200 Ft-lib of torque and zero to sixty in a blink of an eye.
GM tried a car diesel in the 1980's. It was based on the Chevy small block converted to burn diesel. My Olds Delta 88 spent more time in the garage than the road and fuel economy was not much better than the gas version. I would like to have a car that gets great gas mileage but sticker shock even for a small car is very overwhelming. Believe I'll keep my Chrysler Town and Country and 19mpg till it dies.
Alot of people will be interested in the mileage until they find out the inconveniences of owning a modern diesel.....urea exhaust fluid.....the need to plug the block heater in durring the cold winter, otherwise the car won't turn over well due to the higher compression and the weak cold battery... the higher costs of maintaining a diesel.....the high repair costs, diesel components can cost more and the powertrain can be more labor intense when compared to the average 4 cylinder gas engine. I would be skeptical of any new diesel engine that hits the market, I dont want to be the Guinea Pig for that experiment......does anyone remember Fords little foray away from the tried and true 7.3 liter powerstroke...the 6.0 liter diesel, it was a disaster.
Why is Detroit always bringing up the rear. Always a day late and a dollar short. Japan has had the foresight and insight to build cars that are economical, fast, reasonably comfortable, and stylish. What's the matter with American automakers? The argument that they were trying to meet market demands doesn't hold water. Just look at who went bankrupt. There is much more I would Like to say but time constraints prevent me from doing so. Besides I hate to be so negative.
Why would anyone buy anything from Government Motors? You get poor quality Mexican made parts, shoddy assembly by the UAW. You can buy a Nissan's right now with far better technology and quality.
Plus, you don't support the UAW who stole GM from the Bond holders and screwed the pension funds and stockholders. Don't buy anything GM until they pay off the defaulted debts!
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