General Motors appears to be reversing its long-standing resistance to the use of diesel power for its passenger car line-up – and may soon introduce an “oil burner” into its Chevrolet Cruze line-up, which would give the compact model hybrid-level fuel efficiency that could approach 50 mpg.
Like many manufacturers, GM has been wary of diesels despite their chart-topping mileage. The key issue has been the cost of meeting ever-toughening emissions standards. But the industry giant has also been concerned whether U.S. motorists would be turned off by diesel’s other disadvantages.
The change in mindset might reflect the continuing growth in demand for diesel-powered offerings now provided by most of the German makers, some Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models seeing diesel options climbing to nearly a third of their powertrain mix.
While several GM officials declined to comment on the record, they privately confirmed that the high-mileage technology is starting to win converts among senior management, especially with the Obama Administration pushing for fuel economy standards to jump from 37.5 mpg in 2016 to as much as 56.2 mpg in 2025.