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As scandal-tarred Volkswagen downgrades diesels, Chevy hopes to fill the void

October 13, 2016 In the News

As scandal-tarred Volkswagen downgrades diesels, Chevy hopes to fill the void

By John Lamm

DETROIT — While Volkswagen steps aside from diesel vehicles, Chevrolet is filling the void. Early next year, Chevy will launch the diesel version of its Cruze subcompact. The sedan model gets the oil burner first, the hatchback later in the year.

This is the same 1.6-liter turbo four diesel with 136 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque the automaker recently unveiled in its Equinox compact SUV. Cruze versions will have either a six-speed manual or General Motors’ new nine-speed automatic transmission.

Why now, when the VW emissions-cheating scandal has tarnished the image of diesels in the eyes of some? “There are a lot of diesel intenders and diesel-loyal people who are looking for a brand and vehicles to go after,” Dan Nicholson, GM’s vice president for global propulsion systems, toldAutomotive News.

“They tend to be more tech savvy than the average customer. And they won’t stop wishing for a diesel. And we’ll go after those customers.” He added, “I think the U.S. is one of the few diesel growth markets on the planet.”

Volkswagen, meanwhile, has announced it will cut 25,000 jobs over the next decade, many through retirements. The move is part of a cost-cutting program intended to help revive VW’s financial fortunes as it transitions from diesels to electric vehicles.

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John Lamm started his automotive journalism career in 1965 as a racing photographer for Autoweek magazine. After a tour in Vietnam, he joined Motor Trend in 1969, then Road & Track in 1975, where he worked for 37 years. He has also written for Car and Driver and Automobile magazines. Credits include 10 books and Lamm has been honored with the International Motor Press Association’s Ken Purdy and the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor awards for writing. Lamm’s photo archives include hundreds of thousands of images ranging from an 1893 Benz Victoria to many of the latest automobiles. He is on the organizing committee for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for two decades. Lamm lives in San Clemente, California with his wife, Scheri.

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