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GM plans to expand their diesel family

Offered in a diesel engine, the 46 mpg Chevy Cruze has maintained its strong sales momentum for the company.
Offered in a diesel engine, the 46 mpg Chevy Cruze has maintained its strong sales momentum for the company. GM

In an effort to develop cars and light trucks that are more refined and quiet, Detroit automaker GM is taking technology to greater heights by reportedly announcing its bold move towards producing more vehicles in the U.S. with diesel engines according to Automotive News.

At the 2014 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars, Steve Kiefer, GM's vice president of global powertrain, stated that diesels are undoubtedly the future and his company plans to be a competitor. "If you look at the modern diesel engines, especially the ones we have in Europe ... they offer everything that our consumers are looking for, so it would be just a shame to not use more of them. It's a nice combination for the consumer," he said. Keifer also predicted that in just a mere six years, diesels in cars and light trucks could expand to ten percent of the market in this country.

Thus far, GM offers the Chevy Cruze in a diesel engine. The top-selling small sedan has a fierce demand and despite its airbag-related recall this year, the nameplate has maintained its strong sales momentum for the company. GM's other diesel in this country is in the Duramax V-8 engine offered as an option in heavy-duty Chevy and GMC pickup trucks.

Coming down the pike in 2016, diesel-wise for the "Big Three" member is a 2.8-liter four cylinder that will be available in the mid-sized Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups according to Automotive News. In Europe where diesel engines are all the rage and a reported fifty percent of all new cars come with them, GM offers five of these engines there in 13 vehicles including the Chevy Malibu and Captiva, which are sold on these shores.

In this country there are still some taboos surrounding diesel engines--noise, vibration, harshness, pollution and cost. The emerging clean diesels over the last few years are not only 30 percent more fuel-efficient but produce lower CO2 emissions. Modern diesel powertrains are quiet, clean, smooth, reliable, powerful, durable and economical. A diesel vehicle will usually cost more than a comparable gasoline vehicle, but the diesel engine’s more robust design means that, with proper maintenance, it should last considerably longer.

Safety is another thing to consider when opting for a diesel-powered vehicle. Diesel fuel is less volatile than gasoline and ethanol, thus reducing the risk of an explosion or a fire. No wonder they're so widely used by military forces worldwide.

As far as which GM models will get a diesel tweaking, Keifer remained tight-lipped stating, “We will continue to introduce more diesels as appropriate and as the market accepts them.” There is speculation however that GM's Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra are pretty ripe for the diesel picking!

--Car Chick®