It seems like GM hasn't seen the news about diesel in the US.
The newest Chevy Cruze really piqued our interest when GM said that it would be available as a hatchback with a diesel engine and a manual transmission. Hatchbacks, diesels and manuals are not popular in the US, so GM's decision seemed like a bold one. According to early estimates, the Cruze diesel would get at least 45 mpg. In an interview with Automotive News, Mark Reuss, GM's product development chief said "I think it will start with a 5," when asked what the highway fuel economy of the new Cruze diesel might be.
If the latest diesel Cruze can in fact hit over 50 mpg, it will be the first non-hybrid car to do so (in the US) since the 1987 Honda CRX HF, which was rated at 51 mpg highway. This would be a massive achievement for GM, and the market for diesel in the US as a whole. Diesel has been getting terrible press thanks to scandals from Volkswagen and a new scandal from FCA. The Cruze is still waiting for certification from the EPA, so we'll have to wait to see what the MPG rating will be. The previous diesel Cruze came with a 2.0-liter diesel engine with a six-speed automatic that could achieve 44 mpg. The new car will feature a 1.6-liter diesel with a lighter aluminum cylinder block.
Transmission choices will be either a nine-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. We were surprised to see that Chevy will offer a manual, but GM hopes that this option will appeal to customers who are coming from a Volkswagen. Although the 50 mpg rating hasn't been confirmed, Mike Siegrist, chief engineer for the Cruze diesel said "We don't usually go backwards, we know how to do this stuff." He also confirmed that the manual model would get better fuel economy than the nine-speed automatic. This new engine will produce 137 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, and we hope that it can show Americans that diesels cans still be great.