General Motor’s Head of Consumer Affairs, James Bell and Cars.com’s Executive Editor, Joe Wiesenfelder joined me live from the Chicago Auto Show last week to discuss the benefits of clean diesel, why Europeans have embraced diesel, whether or not diesel ever would be a better option than gasoline for a family, and the new Chevy Cruze 2.oTD.
Candace Rose: Why do you think the evolution of clean diesel might be something consumers embrace?
Joe Wiesenfelder: “Clean diesel is kind of a new execution of the diesels that people didn’t care for- the smoky, smelly, slow clattery ones. I actually one of those, it’s an old Mercedes; but what’s changed now is the fuel is cleaner so the vehicle’s are cleaner. A clean diesel car is as clean as a gas powered car. That means they’re available in all states, they give you the efficiency of a hybrid- typically about 20% greater as a comparable car. They let you go a little bit farther, the range is better. I think it has a lot of the advantages of a hybrid but they’re better to drive, not as awkward in the braking and such.”
Candace Rose: 50% of car sales in Europe are diesel cars. Why have Europeans embraced diesel so much quicker than us?
James Bell: “You have to think about the fact that fuel prices in Europe are so much higher than in the U.S. We complain when we hit $4 a gallon but meanwhile Europeans have been at least twice that, if not more. That’s been a big driving force that people are looking in Europe obviously to drive more efficient vehicles, smaller vehicles that they can afford to drive. But the nice thing about clean diesel is that while it’s very efficient as Joe pointed out, it also has plenty of power. The new Cruze is going to have over 260 pounds of torque. Torque is what you feel when you take off from a light. Not horsepower, that’s torque. This is a vehicle that we think meets a lot of Americans need that have plenty of power, but also sipping the fuel as you go.”
Candace Rose: Can you tell us more about the new Chevy Cruze 2.0TD?
James Bell: “It’s a vehicle that probably looks very familiar to many of your viewers. The car has been on sale for a little over two years now and done very well. Now that we have this great new fuel available in the U.S. we can now bring this great European engine in it. This is a Chevy Cruze, it’s motor is designed in Italy, manufactured in Germany and shipped over and installed in our facility in Lordstown, Ohio. It’s a proper global car that has some great technology and affordable technology for many American households.”
Candace Rose: Would diesel ever be a better option than gasoline for a family?
Joe Wiesenfelder: “I would suspect for some families in some places diesel is the better way to go. You have to think about where you are and how you drive. Where you are relates to regions. Some places have cheaper diesel fuel, and then there’s how you drive. If you do a lot of short trips in the city, you might be better off with a regular car, a hybrid or a plug-in electric car. But if you go on the highway a lot and long trips, that’s where clean diesel’s really shine and they have long range, which is really less of an issue than when driving around in the city.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
James Bell: “Well, if you’re interested in this new vehicle and this new technology, I suggest going to Chevrolet.com, and Joe’s got a great website for information on all cars.”
Joe Wiesenfelder: “I do. If you’re interested in any alternative fuel or regular ones of any brand, go to Cars.com.”