Torino may have been a Ford nameplate (and part of a Clint Eastwood film title), but the Italian city's presence in the U.S. auto industry will next be felt through General Motors.

GM's Detroit engineers will work with engineers at the automaker's Torino, Italy, plant, on developing the powertrain for the diesel-powered Chevrolet Cruze that GM will launch in the U.S. next year.

GM is investing about $26 million in its Torino plant to speed up the powertrain's development and address noise and vibration issues that have plagued the automaker's previous diesel-car models. GM sold 33,000 Cruze Diesels overseas last year among the more than 500,000 diesel engines outside of the U.S. in 2011.

GM, which said last summer that it would debut the diesel Cruze in 2013, hasn't provided engine specifications or fuel economy figures, though the model is expected to at least match the EPA-rated 42 miles per gallon highway fuel economy that the 1.4-liter Cruze Eco gets.

Introduced in September 2010, the Cruze became the most popular Chevrolet car model in the U.S. last year as gas prices surged. GM sold more than 231,000 Chevrolet Cruzes, second among the brand's models to the 415,000 Silverado pickups sold last year.

GM hasn't sold diesel-powered cars in the U.S. since it offered the powertrain on some of its Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Cadillac and Buick sedans in the 1980s.
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Cruze Diesel Will Build on GM's Euro Expertise
U.S. engine being co-developed with diesel center of excellence in Torino, Italy
2012-02-21

DETROIT – When it comes to developing a diesel-powered Chevrolet Cruze for the U.S. market to be introduced in 2013, General Motors powertrain engineers have been there and done that – half a million times last year alone.

The Cruze diesel will leverage global powertrain expertise that has helped make GM's fuel-efficient diesel engines popular options around the world.

GM sold more than half a million diesel-powered cars across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America last year, including 33,000 Cruzes. The introduction of a diesel option for Cruze – one of the top-selling gasoline-powered cars in the United States in 2011 – is expected to fuel GM's diesel car sales success.
Diesel engines have long been known for their fuel efficiency and power. Due to a higher compression rate in the engine cylinders and greater density of energy in diesel fuel itself, diesel-powered engines are able to produce more power per gallon than gasoline-powered engines.

For Cruze, powertrain engineers at GM's diesel center of excellence in Torino, Italy, are working daily with counterparts in Pontiac, Mich., to develop a world-class engine that delivers outstanding fuel efficiency and torque while providing a smooth, quiet ride. In addition, GM engineers in Russelsheim, Germany, are supporting the program by developing the accessory drive, acoustic cover and other specialized components.

"The market for diesel cars in the U.S. is small at present, but is expected to grow due to Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements and expected increases in gas prices," said Mike Omotoso, powertrain analyst at LMC Automotive. "So far, the German automakers haven't had any diesel car competition in North America. GM could do well with it, particularly with younger buyers who don't have the old prejudices against diesel."

Future Cruze diesel engine development will benefit from GM's recent commitment to invest 20 million Euros ($26.5 million) to add five new dynamic benches at its Torino facility for climatic, noise and vibration and chassis dynamometer testing. These additions will speed development time.

"U.S. customers are going to be pleasantly surprised when they get a chance to drive the Chevrolet Cruze diesel," said Mike Siegrist, 2.0L diesel assistant chief engineer. "Our global team is providing diesel engineering expertise that will give U.S. Cruze customers great quality, torque and fuel economy in a car that's both fun to drive and practical at the pump."

Climatic tests simulate temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 degrees Celsius) up to (158 F) (70 C) and altitudes as high as 10,000 feet (3000 meters). Noise and vibration tests help minimize engine vibro-acoustic response. Chassis dynamometer tests measure emissions.

"We're able to put the diesel engines through rigorous testing to ensure they operate optimally under a wide range of conditions and also can be integrated seamlessly into the production vehicle," said Pierpaolo Antonioli, managing director of the Torino Powertrain and Engineering Center. "We've pushed these engines in the labs so that the customer can depend on them in real-world driving situations."

The latest generation of GM diesels has resolved drawbacks associated with the previous engines. Precisely controlled direct-injection fuel systems create a smooth-running engine. Particulate-capturing filtration systems dramatically reduce tailpipe emissions.

"In terms of outward appearances, the difference between the diesel and gasoline engine is going to be difficult to discern," Siegrist said. "GM's advanced technologies provide a seamless transition from a gasoline to a diesel car. You get the benefits of the fuel economy and power while preserving a smooth, quiet ride."

General Motors (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM), one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM's brands include Chevrolet and Cadillac, as well as Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.





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  • 20 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 2 Months Ago
      Winning and losing, winning by bringing an American oil burner to what has been the happy German's private party in the US for over a decade, losing by not providing the jobs to build the little diesel drivetrain components here in the US. The UAW will have to slow down a little to make up for it. As for projected milage, it better match the Prius, or why bother.
        EZEE
        • 2 Months Ago
        @harlanx6
        i imagine that if it proved popular enough, then they would eventually move production here. Although no, not especially green, I am curious why they haven't even tried in the past. Yes, the diesels are more expensive, but we are seeing top end Chevy Cruze's at $29K - and Focus Platinums at $28K - so a diesel, without all the toys, getting 50mpg at $24K? Why not?
      Peter
      • 2 Months Ago
      GM has a lot of diesels on offer to choose from. It will probably be either the 1.7 or 2.0 litre or perhaps even a new one The 2.0 litre would be quite peppy with 161 hp and 266 lb·ft The 1.7 has 123bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 206lb ft at 2000-2700rpm which is still a little peppier than the 1.4 (138 hp but 148 lb ft) In Europe the 2.0l Cruze has fuel economy similar to the Golf 2.0l TDI Yes would be nice for the engine to be built on this side, but that won't happen until North Americans start buying enough diesels to keep a factory busy.
      Rotation
      • 2 Months Ago
      Not quite sure what this story is doing on ABG. Diesel isn't green. It's made from oil, remember?
        Jeff Zekas
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Yes, but you can MAKE diesel from GREEN PLANTS, which are a renewable resource... and since North America has more arable land than virtually any country in the world, Americans would, in effect, have an unlimited supply of non-Arab (nee terrorist supporting) fuel for its vehicles.
          PR
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          Rotation - Both Chevy and Ford certify their trucks to B20 now. 2WM - There are also some farm-equipment companies certifying to B100 like CASE IH and New Holland. So no need to use petroleum-fired machinery, just burn the biodiesel to create more biodiesel than is burned to make it. Here is the list: http://www.biodiesel.org/resources/oems/default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1 Keep in mind that algae-based biodiesel doesn't even need ANY farm land at all. It can be grown on land that can't support a single crop. Dread - Yes, we need a massive breakthrough in algae based biodiesel to get the full benefit of biodiesel. This has to happen for biodiesel to go big. But your own numbers show how we would only need to increase our soybean production by 50% to make every single bit of diesel in the US be at least B5. That might not sound like a big deal to run B5, but it actually would have a very large impact upon diesel prices. Diesel prices swing wildly on just a small percent of supply/demand imbalance. Farmers could ramp up soybean production by 50% just by taking a FRACTION of the land we pay farmers to keep fallow (no crops) and putting it back into use growing soybeans. We would win twice. First diesel prices would come down in a matter of a single growing season. Second we stop paying farm subsidies, to keep land fallow, and start collecting income taxes instead from the same people. That alone is worth going to B5. But you are right, the real future is in stuff like algae. That doesn't stop us from taking advantage
          EZEE
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          You can also make gas from POO and no one pretends gas powered vehicles are green. Also note that no manufacturer allows more than 15% Poo.... (sorry I started laughing and had to stop....had just read that story on the Poo powered VW Bug)
          dreadcthulhu01
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          PR, the total amount of land currently under the CRP is capped at 32 million acres, and the total amount under the program is less than that, since commodity prices are so high that it makes more sense to farm the land than to sit around collecting money for not farming. Last year, soybeans were planted on ~75 million acres in the US. So if you took all the CRP land, and converted it to soybean production (not that all of it is suitable for growing soybeans), you still wouldn't be able to boost production by 50%. And if the entire American soybean crop was diverted to make biodiesel, everyone else who uses soybeans right now would be up in arms, since prices would skyrocket as they had to import soybeans to make their animal feed and tofu. And you would have lots of starving people in third world countries too, if that much food was taken off the world market. http://www.ers.usda.gov/amberwaves/november08/Findings/CRPAcreage.htm http://www.ers.usda.gov/news/soybeancoverage.htm
          dreadcthulhu01
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          Baring some radical breakthrough in algae based biofuel production, biodiesel can't replace more than a small portion of the world's, or even just the US's, diesel consumption. For example, last year the US produced about 3 billion bushels of soybeans; a bushel of soybeans will yeild about 1.33 gallons of oil. So if you turned the entire American crop of soybeans into biofuel, you would get about 4 billion gallons. In comparison, the US used about 40 billion gallons of diesel fuel last year. Sure, there are other crops that can produce more oil than soybeans, but not enough to make a real dent.
          wxman
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          @ Rotation - HVO meets ASTM spec D 975 (http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/pdfs/deer_2007/session5/deer07_cornforth.pdf). The owner's manual for my 2010 diesel vehicle states that the fuel must meet ASTM D 975 ULSD, nothing about having to be petroleum based. The only reason that FAME biodiesel is being limited in the current diesel vehicles is because of the DPF regeneration scheme that's being used...post injection...requires a very specific boiling range that FAME biodiesel doesn't meet, and can dilute the engine oil excessively if used in too high a concentration. This is a non-issue with HVO since it has the same boiling range as petroleum-based diesel fuel. Granted, there's still a feedstock stock supply issue with HVO, but there are no technical issues in using it.
          Rotation
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          PR if you mandate 5% Biodiesel, then the supply is constrained by supply of both the bio part and the petrol. You do get 5.2% more fuel from the existing supply of oil, but that's not going to stop any big upswings and downswings in demand/supply balance and thus price. And the limits on availability of the bio part could easily cause larger supply problems than we already have. You'd have to instead have a mandate at allows up to 5% biodiesel, then you never have the new bio supply constraint. I don't see how this differs from the current situation though. Currently 5% biodiesel is available and if it were cheaper, it'd be more common than it is. I don't see how 5% Biodiesel would stability Diesel fuel prices any more than 10% ethanol has stabilized gas prices. As to HVO, vehicles aren't certified for it. You say it's good enough to replace Diesel completely, but just your say so isn't enough. It doesn't change the situation for buyers who would risk invalidated warranties by running HVO. I'm in general skeptical of food into fuel ideas anyway. You say we can do it without competing with food supplies, but past history has not proved this out. For starters, most of the time farmers are paid not to plant is to protect the soil, not just to keep prices up. Planting in these situations would further deplete the soil and so isn't a freebie.
          wxman
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          @ Rotation - then the answer is hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) which is a diesel-range hydrocarbon unlike traditional biodiesel with is an ester (FAME). As such, HVO can be used in any concentration up to 100% in any diesel engine. @ 2 Wheeled Menace - according to the latest study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, soy biodiesel has a positive energy ratio of 5.54:1 (http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/07/soybean-20110727.html). Another study shows that the ancillary inputs (e.g., pesticides) are far less with soy biodiesel than for ethanol (http://www.cedarcreek.umn.edu/hilletal2006.pdf). @ dreadcthulhu01 - agree that biodiesel currently accounts for a very small portion of the total diesel fuel used in the U.S., but between biodiesel from oil crops and algae, and BTL from waste organic matter, it could be useful in an "all-of-the-above" approach.
          Rotation
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          You can also make gas from GREEN PLANTS and no one pretends gas powered vehicles are green. Also note that no manufacturer allows more than 15% BioDiesel to be used in their vehicles. BMW gets tons of play on here and doesn't allow more than 8%!
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Jeff Zekas
          I'm sure that bio diesel you proposed would be produced without petroleum-derived fertilizers, clean drinking water, or petroleum-fired machinery.. ..and have a positive energy return..
      Nick
      • 2 Months Ago
      I'd much, much rather see more Hybrids and plug-in Hybrids than Diesels. Sure they're more efficient than gasoline, but they don't kick the habit at all. Plus, they smell terrible (yes, even those with a particle filter).
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Months Ago
      If GM hopes to sell a significant amount of these cars they better do alot better than just meet the mileage of the Cruz Eco. In the US gasoline is often significantly cheaper than diesel (not sure why, but its often $0.50 to $1.00 gallon more). It makes the economics of a diesel harder to work. I like the idea of a Cruz diesel but I hope GM has thought this through (parity to gasoline mpg won't do it) so they don't have a big sales failure on their hands.
        dreadcthulhu01
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        The reason that diesel is more expensive than gasoline in the US, but often cheaper than gasoline in other countries is a matter of taxes. Pre-tax, ultra-low sulfur diesel is more expensive than gasoline everywhere; the US taxes diesel fuel slightly more than gasoline (an average 51.4¢ a gallon for diesel vs 47¢ a gallon for gasoline, exact amount depends on the state). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_taxes_in_the_United_States Other countries have decided to tax diesel a lot less; for example, in Germany the fuel taxes are €0.4704 per litre for ultra-low sulphur Diesel and €0.6545 per litre gasoline, plus Value Added Tax (19%) on the fuel itself and the Fuel Tax. So diesel ends up being a bit cheaper at the pump. And there are two main reasons why diesel is more expensive than gas now, even though it was cheaper than gas 10 years ago. The first is that world-wide demand for diesel fuel has increased at a faster rate than the demand for gasoline over the last 10 years, and the second is the government requiring the oil refiners to significantly reduce the amount of sulfur in diesel fuel, which increases the refining costs.
          EZEE
          • 2 Months Ago
          @dreadcthulhu01
          PR Where have you been? I have had to end up doing MY OWN research BY MYSELF. You realize we depend on you and Marco (plus sporadic input from others) to fill in the myriad of blanks left out by the ABG authors....
          PR
          • 2 Months Ago
          @dreadcthulhu01
          The two main reasons Dread listed were dead on. To make it worse, the majority of fuel saving initiatives are all focused on gas vehicles, and passenger cars. So in the future, US gasoline usage will continue to go down, while diesel usage will continue to grow. This means diesel will continue to get more expensive. An added complication is that light-sweet low-sulfur crude is much cheaper to make into low-sulfur diesel than any other form of oil, yet the world has reached peak-light sweet crude and now we are being forced to use junk like heavy crude and tar sand oil instead. That makes the process of refining to ultra-low sulfur diesel even more expensive. The solution to both of these problems is biodiesel. We should immediately mandate B5 in all US diesel fuel. That alone would reverse the cost disparity we've seen in the last 10 years. Then we should mandate that all new diesel vehicles be certified by manufacturers to run on B20 or better. This would keep petroleum-based diesel demand in check over the longer term while. Biodiesel is also completely sulfur free, so the more biodiesel that is mixed with petro-diesel, the less processing is needed to remove sulfur from petro-diesel. ------------------------- The "gas tax" is actually a Roads and Highway tax that happens to be administered through gas purchases. Diesel trucks SHOULD pay higher Roads and Highway Tax, because they do heavy damage to roads. If there is any adjustments made to diesel and gas taxes for passenger cars, there still needs to be a higher tax rate for diesel trucks.
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