General Motors is sometimes faulted for poisoning demand for diesel engines in the US. But 30 years later, The General is warming to the idea of consumer-targeted oil burners again. GM President Mark Reuss tells TheDetroitBureau.com that if he has a say, his company will again sell a bunch of diesel-powered passenger cars in the US.

"There is, fundamentally, a place for diesel here," Reuss told TDB after Thursday's Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra intros. When asked directly about a diesel future for GM, Reuss answered, "more to come."

Reuss went on to say new technologies are making cleaner-burning diesels that should make meeting US emissions requirements easier, though he cautions they could push prices up beyond what buyers would be willing to pay. An anonymous GM exec says in the story that consumers have shown an interest in diesel and were willing to pay extra for the greater fuel economy – but not enough to cover actual costs of the technology.

GM's heavy-duty pickups currently offer a diesel engine, but the future of diesel-powered, light-duty cars from GM will likely depend heavily on the market performance of the upcoming diesel Chevrolet Cruze. If it can hit the mythical 50 mpg mark, it could be a hot enough seller that it triggers new conversations in GM's boardroom about developing other oil-burners for North American consumption. Could the future include diesel versions of GM's light-duty pickups? It would appear that the notion has at least one very powerful champion in Reuss.


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  • 36 Comments
      Jason Golden
      • 2 Years Ago
      My ownership of a 2012 Jetta TDI was a result of not being able to find a '12 Jetta SEL (2.5L gas engine) with the color and equipment I wanted. The difference: $24,500 versus $26,000 ...both priced well withing the $30K budget and both quite satisfying...and it is really all the same at 0.9% interest for 48 months. Fuel savings...whatever...call it a side-effect or benefit...whatever. I don't need a spreadsheet to enjoy my daily drive. Either way (gas or diesel Jetta) is a dramatic improvement over my previous Ram Hemi. So, a Cruze diesel...perhaps...if the performance / price / equipment / expectation all fall within reason.
      Fed Up
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey GM, how about a Duramax powered Suburban 2500? It would take minimal tooling and would make it a unique vehicle that no other large SUV manufacturer offers.
      y.kwun
      • 2 Years Ago
      A small diesel engine truck is much more desirable than than the ecoboost ford truck, and look at their sales! I think if someone could miraculously deliver one at a small price premium, it would far outsell ecoboost. That's a big IF though. I'm a farmer and I we would love a truck with a small diesel engine if thermwasmonly a 1600 $ markup for the upgrade from base diesel engine.
      F
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think that having some diversity in the USA car fleet would be good. We need Diesel, Propane, CNG, Hyrodgen, etc. I am all for Diesel. I had an old Mercedes Diesel and it got to almost 600,000 miles with no problems. I currently drive a F-250 Diesel with almost 300,000 miles and it still runs strong. I think that Diesel will be good for the USA
      Frazgo Fraz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Adding Diesel into GM's stated goals of electrification means a huge win for consumers. Even if pure diesel the benefits of better economy and durability add up for a win for consumers. I recently drove a pure biofueled diesel Passat powered by Solazyme. That is a algae based diesel that is a simple drop in fuel that burns cleaner with no mpg loss. This makes it a renewable and sustainable fuel source for the future. I think its a mistake to hang on to gassers only for any manufacturer.
      y.kwun
      • 2 Years Ago
      Diesel engines compare well because it delivers more power compared to gas Eco engine. Also, A diesel with four passengers and baggage gets much better performance and mpg than a gas Eco car full of gear. the mpg drops much more than diesel in that situation. Also, diesel fuel, from a scientific perspective is cheaper to produce than gas. The current market can adjust if the government and oil companies reduce the politics and manipulation of the diesel market.
      edward.stallings
      • 2 Years Ago
      Don't you just love the stench of diesel exhaust and the way your hands smell like kerosene when you refuel and the rattly sound and the way they love to rev to just over 3500 rpm. What is also way cool is the carcinogenic black smokescreen the hot turbo pickups put out when they mod them for big power. They are more efficient and have their place, but they have a lot of negatives. I would not consider buying a diesel car.
        ChrisH
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edward.stallings
        sorry to burst you bubble, but modern diesels like those in the Passat, Jetta, Golf, and Beetle, are very clean. So clean in fact you can sit behind their exhaust when they are running, probably at start, and only feel warm moist air. You won't smell a thing. As for sound, there is a hint of rattle but GDI engines sound bad compared to the diesels.
        Avinash Machado
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edward.stallings
        Stop living in the 1980's.
        Lx495
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edward.stallings
        One suspects Mr Edward Stallings has a music collection of nothing newer than 1989. Not ironically, his name is Stallings.
        Fed Up
        • 2 Years Ago
        @edward.stallings
        edward stallings, you are an ignorant fool
      BLSully
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Mythical 50mpg mark" ? Guess GM missed VW's 1.9L - 2.0L TDI's. There have been people seeing ~50mpg combined on those motors for years.
        Snark
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BLSully
        Combined? Get real. 50mpg in steady, 65-70mph highway cruising, sure. 50mpg combined? Absolutely not. I own one, I love it, it's great, but I get about 34-35 combined, not 50. My usual highway mileage is 45-47mpg. Diesels are great, and I'm a huge fan, but I find that diesel proponents tend to wildly exaggerate their claimed fuel economy. Don't do that. It makes us sound like fanboys and idiots.
          dreadcthulhu01
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Snark
          If you are only getting 35 mpg combined, and 47 mpg highway, then there isn't much point to getting a diesel car at US fuel prices; a gas car would only have to get 29 mpg combined & 39 mpg highway to have the same operating costs (which is obtainable by any of the better C-segment cars available in the US), and the gasoline car would cost thousands less in the first place. Of course, I am using AAA average US fuel prices to make my calculation; if you live in an area where there is much less difference in the price of gasoline & diesel (or one of those Euro countries that taxes gas a lot more than diesel, making the diesel fuel cheaper), a diesel car might make sense for you.
        BahamaTodd
        • 2 Years Ago
        @BLSully
        Yes, the mythical 50mpg mark officially rated by the EPA. Neither of those VW diesels are rated anywhere near that.
      y.kwun
      • 2 Years Ago
      One negative side is cancerous emission. Maybe one reason govt frowns on diesel. Another neg is engine purchase cost . Another is repair cost. Another positive is that diesels tolerate dirt roads and rural environment better than gas.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      danwat1234
      • 2 Years Ago
      Keep in mind of the MPG vs a gasoline car. Diesel contains about ~11% more energy than gasoline, so, if a diesel car gets 11% better MPG than a comparable gas car, the diesel car is NOT more efficient, it just has more energy to work with. Though VW TDIs tend to do a bit better than 11% better, but not a whole lot more. The average real world city/highway combined MPG for the TDI Passat on Fuelly is around 40.7MPG. If an equivalent gas car gets 36.6MPG (40.7/1.11), then it is just as efficent as a TDI on average, and even a 1st generation 2001 Prius gets 42.7MPG average on Fuelly and a big 2012 Prius V wagon gets 42.4MPG. http://www.fuelly.com/car/volkswagen/passat/diesel%20l4 "However, due to the higher density, diesel offers a higher volumetric energy density at 35.86 MJ/L (128 700 BTU/US gal) vs. 32.18 MJ/L (115 500 BTU/US gal) for gasoline, some 11% higher, which should be considered when comparing the fuel efficiency by volume. " Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_fuel#Fuel_value_and_pricehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_fuel#Fuel_value_and_price So what I am saying is don't buy a diesel to be green. Modern gas engines are very close to being as efficient as diesels. In the case of Atkinson cycle gas engines they are right there with diesels.
      dreadcthulhu01
      • 2 Years Ago
      Personally, I think GM would be better off launching the diesel as an option for the Buick Verano, not the Cruze. The Chevy Cruze Eco already gets really good mileage, and at US fuel prices, it will be very difficult for a diesel Cruze to be more cost effective; the Cruze Eco ended up being cheaper to fuel than the Jetta TDI in Motortrends recent fuel economy tests. http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/1208_40_mpg_compact_sedan_comparison/viewall.html The regular Cruze is still gets pretty good fuel economy, for that matter. If a regular Cruze gets 30 mpg in mixed driving (its EPA combined rating), and the diesel Cruze gets 45 mpg, and cost $2000 more, at average US fuel prices, it would take the diesel Cruze 95,000 miles before it starts to save the owner any money. The Verano, on the other hand, doesn't get that good of mileage, so it would be a lot easier for a diesel version to make sense; it would also give the Verano a version that can compete with the ILX hybrid & A3 TDI. It would be easier to hide the additional price of the diesel engine into the higher starting price of the Verano as well. The regular Verano gets 25 mpg combined; if the diesel got 45 mpg and cost $2k more, it would only take 46.5 thousand miles for the diesel to start saving money. Note I am using AAA average fuel prices of $3.28 for gas, and $3.95 for diesel for my calculations.
        montoym
        • 2 Years Ago
        @dreadcthulhu01
        One failure there is looking at the price difference as they are right now. Winter is when diesel is the most expensive and when gasoline is cheapest. The price differences are much closer for the rest of the year usually. The calculations need to be averaged out for prices over the course of the year, not just for a single point in time, especially when that point is the worst one for diesel. That said, offer a diesel in both (and more), and let the market decide. The Germans tend to be able to sell diesels in anything they offer them in, no reason domestics couldn't as well.
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