GM buys into diesel

Bob Lutz was down on diesel the other day, but he also said that a diesel would be coming to the US for light duty trucks and bigger passenger vehicles some time in the near future. I’ve been saying GM should have been prepared for diesel in the US for ages now.

And it seems they’ve taken a concrete step in that direction.

News services are reporting that GM have agreed to purchase a 50% stake in VM Motori. This is from Edmunds:

General Motors will buy 50 percent of VM Motori of Italy, a maker of diesel engines that is the property of Penske Corporation, in a joint venture agreement. GM had announced this spring that it would develop a new 2.9-liter V6 turbodiesel engine with VM Motori. The engine is slated to make its debut in the 2009 Cadillac CTS.

I know a lot of you American types are still sceptical about whether diesel will ever take off there. I’m pretty sure it will.

And I’m pretty sure that VM Motori already build the 1.9 litre unit used in the Saab diesels in Europe and Australia. Pleae let me know if I’m wrong. I was.

Every diesel story I cover makes me think again of that sweet TTiD…….

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  1. Swade, here is a fresh press relase from J.D. Power.
    It shows that the purchase of the hybrid vehicles is significantly falling, and the diesels are coming.
    “The study also finds that consumer consideration for purchasing clean diesel vehicles, which were newly introduced to the market in 2007, is at 23 percent.”

  2. Watch out for the price of diesel to start rocketing. In the UK diesel has been more expensive for a while, negating the benefits (mpg-wise and hence cost-wise) of the greener fuel. The explanation for the higher cost was “higher global demand”. If the USA goes big on diesel this will only get worse.

  3. Swade, the 1.9 Saab diesel is built by Fiat at their Pratola Serra engine plant in Italy. In recent history, GM & Fiat were ‘married’ & then ‘divorced’ in a ‘partnership’ Part of the divorce settlement is that GM retains financial interests and property rights to Fiat diesel engines and their manufacturing plants.
    VM Motori is 51% owned by Penske and 49% by DaimlerChrysler, I cannot figure out exactly what GM has bought – 50% of 51%?
    Talk of what goes around, comes around – Penske purchased VM from Detroit Diesel Corp. -a former GM company!!

  4. Again, another reason for SAAB to be ready with the TTiD here in America:

    Motor Authority
    J.D. Power finds interest in hybrids sinking
    Tuesday 17 July 2007

    A recent study conducted by J.D. Power and Associates has found that 50% of prospective car buyers in the US are considering a hybrid model, down from 57% one year ago. By contrast, the level of interest surrounding new diesel models has risen sharply with 23% of respondents claiming they’re considering a diesel, up from 12% last year.

    According to the study, the loss of interest in hybrids stems from consumer realization that hybrid cars are not as thrifty as initially perceived. J.D. Power’s Mike Marshall told reporters from The Detroit News that “the decrease in consideration of hybrids in 2007 may be a result of their more realistic understanding of the actual fuel economy”.

    More and more people are becoming aware that diesel cars can offer up to 30% better mileage than equivalent petrol powered cars and are often more frugal than even petrol-electric hybrids. Still, combined sales of diesels and hybrids account for only 5% of the US market but the trend is likely to change soon in the favor of diesels as more carmakers announce plans for a US diesel roll-out.

  5. VW Motori used to build diesel engines for Rover, they were a piece of junk in that they were unrefined so putting them in a premium car like a Saab isnt exactly clever.

  6. Does the planet really NEED another V6? Made in Italy with the $ worth almost 1.4EU and crude and diesel at record highs as well? V6s are proof that TWO heads(and lots of other stuff) arent better than one. Too much unnecs complication.

    Surely Tonawanda, the worlds largest engine plant, 100% GM owned, could be considered to build 4&5 cyl turbodiesels for GLOBAL markets.

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