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Saturn mulling Diesel-propelled future

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No turbodiesel at first; engine may be available later
Link to Original Article @ Detroit Free Press | By Mark Phelan | March 29, 2007

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Highway cruising over 100 m.p.h. with fuel economy exceeding 37 m.p.g. Detroit to Chicago and back -- 566 miles -- on considerably less than a tank of fuel.

Is this heaven?

No, it's the Opel Astra 1.9 CDTI, powered by GM Europe's latest turbodiesel. The fuel-efficient and powerful 1.9-liter turbodiesel in the Astra I recently tested in Europe won't make it across the Atlantic this year, but it may be in the brand's future.

The 2008 Saturn Astra that hits dealerships late this year will have a 140-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. Saturn hasn't said how the car does in EPA fuel consumption tests, but you can expect it to be competitive with models like the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and VW Rabbit but well short of what the diesel would achieve.

Saturn executives have their eye on GM's European diesel lineup. The brand could offer the latest generation of low-emissions diesels alongside its growing lineup of hybrid-electric models as it works to polish its earth-friendly credentials.

The main questions are how much could Saturn charge for the diesel and how many customers would pay for it.

Diesels are more expensive than most gasoline engines because of costly additional components like turbochargers, intercoolers, high-pressure fuel pumps and extra emission-control systems.

Ballpark figures floating around the industry suggest a diesel that can be sold in all 50 states in 2010 could cost around $1,000 more than a comparably powerful gasoline engine.

That's a big hurdle for a compact car like the Astra, but it wouldn't be a shock to see the brand offering diesels to test demand.
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a diesel that can be sold in all 50 states in 2010 could cost around $1,000 more than a comparably powerful gasoline engine.

That's a big hurdle for a compact car like the Astra, but it wouldn't be a shock to see the brand offering diesels to test demand.

That's about the same premium a Jetta or Beetle TDI commands and VW has waiting lists for them......

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i don't see why an extra $1000 would be that big of a hurdle. It would pay for itself PDQ, or is that too far sighted for the average consumer?

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I don't post a lot here, I do mostly reading. This deserves a response.

This needs to be in the market. $1,000 (USD) is nothing compared to the hybrids markup. With its fuel economy it would pay it self quickly.

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I don't post a lot here, I do mostly reading. This deserves a response.

This needs to be in the market. $1,000 (USD) is nothing compared to the hybrids markup. With its fuel economy it would pay it self quickly.

That's is an excellent observation about the hybrid premium.

Maybe if you get enough Saturn diesel owners, they can get their friends in government to allow them to clog up the car pool lanes and get mucho tax breaks too... (j/k)

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I can hear Satty now after he reads this...

F**KING DO IT GM!!!!......then again, that's what I'm thinking also :AH-HA_wink:

Edited by deftonesfan867
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This was to be expected... Saturn looks to Europe for everything, it was a matter of time when the diesel would come out.

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Yes, please do this, GM. I'd gladly pay for an Astra XR 3-door with a diesel and a manual.

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Unless George Clooney drives it, I'm sure North American's will be their cheapass selves and not spend the extra grand on a diesel. Instead, they'll spend the money on larger wheels. :rolleyes:

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People spend $2-3000 on navigation systems they don't use after they impress their friends five times, yet they wouldn't buy a Diesel.

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The day a domestic maker (hopefully GM) has a typical sedan, coupe, or hatch that has an extremely efficient diesel available will be the day I'm in heaven! Right now, without a doubt, I wish I had an efficient and torquey diesel in a stylish package that wasn't overly expensive, and would LOVE if that kind of deal would ever be available in something like an Astra, etc.

With the latest gas hike, I guess it's just my further lack of passion for a larger V8 (or even V6) vehicle, so I hope by the day I'm due or ready for a new car, there are actually a nice range of smaller diesel choices.

People spend $2-3000 on navigation systems they don't use after they impress their friends five times, yet they wouldn't buy a Diesel.

So true. In reality, for years my Suburban driving mother had sworn she'd never drive a diesel just because they're too noisy and she always only thought of them as being in big trucks. Then a friend and co-worker bought one of the last '04 Jetta TDI's and she's not only seen the light, but has said how much she likes that car and how--if the day comes when she ever doesn't need the Suburban space--she'd love something just like it, both because of the style and the diesel.

It's still a big perception thing, for sure. If amazing cars like the MB E320 CDI BlueTec were more widespread (quiet as could be, with loads of power and 35+ MPG on the highway all in a heavy luxury sedan), or VW could meet the emissions to get their diesels back sooner, and advertise the heck out of them, maybe they'd make a difference.

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But if it could be done, yes, sign me up for a diesel Astra too!

Edited by caddycruiser
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diesels need to cost more than gas because their injection systems are more complex and costly. Also, the emissions systems are most costly. Also, the structure of the motor needs ot be beffier because the high compression and extreme torque compared to a same sized gas motor. For example, a diesel head bolt would need to be much more sturdy and beefy and built to a higher tolerance.

However, anything over time gets cheaper in volume, so i cannot understand why diesels cost 3-5 k more (CTS). the 1000 dollar number thrown around for the Astra seems very pleasing in that context.

The rebel states in this country need to be federally overruled on all this diesel witch hunt bull$h!. (CALIFORNIA COUGH). Now that the diesel itself is clean and the emissions are not an issue, it wouldn't hurt to back off on the socialism and bias against dielsel so we all can benefit from it as another alternative fuel choice.

Withhold federal highway funding if these pricks erect barriers to diesel car sales.

If the BMW 3 does 40mpg w. a diesel, I would kill for an all new 9-5x diesel that gets that kind of mpg.

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The day a domestic maker (hopefully GM) has a typical sedan, coupe, or hatch that has an extremely efficient diesel available will be the day I'm in heaven! Right now, without a doubt, I wish I had an efficient and torquey diesel in a stylish package that wasn't overly expensive, and would LOVE if that kind of deal would ever be available in something like an Astra, etc.

With the latest gas hike, I guess it's just my further lack of passion for a larger V8 (or even V6) vehicle, so I hope by the day I'm due or ready for a new car, there are actually a nice range of smaller diesel choices.

So true. In reality, for years my Suburban driving mother had sworn she'd never drive a diesel just because they're too noisy and she always only thought of them as being in big trucks. Then a friend and co-worker bought one of the last '04 Jetta TDI's and she's not only seen the light, but has said how much she likes that car and how--if the day comes when she ever doesn't need the Suburban space--she'd love something just like it, both because of the style and the diesel.

It's still a big perception thing, for sure. If amazing cars like the MB E320 CDI BlueTec were more widespread (quiet as could be, with loads of power and 35+ MPG on the highway all in a heavy luxury sedan), or VW could meet the emissions to get their diesels back sooner, and advertise the heck out of them, maybe they'd make a difference.

-------------

But if it could be done, yes, sign me up for a diesel Astra too!

Didn't GM used to put a diesel in the 'Burban? If they don't ever make my E85, AFM, hybrid Avalanche, I'll take a duramax Avalanche instead please.

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bring it on, BRING IT ON !

Heck, while your at it put it in the cobalt and NuBu and why not add the Hybrid system as well.

Badda boom badda bing > 8)

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I would buy a GM diesel car, after all I'm German and it would get me back to my driving roots. Das ist gut! :smilewide:

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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I'd love to see this happen. With any luck, it would bury the Prius.
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In Europe diesels more than retain their value premium in the resale market. In some European markets it's got to the point where a second hand petrol car is difficult to sell.

So that 1000 dollars is not costing you anything in reality, and the fuel savings start on day 1.

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In America diesels hold their value as well, TDI VWs seem to be pricier used than their gas counterparts, that is assuming you can find someone willing to give up a TDI.

I had some email correspondence with Bob Lutz about this very subject a few weeks ago, basically he said that GM tried and couldn't do it forthe Astra's release but they're working on it.

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I would gladly take a diesel Astra with the six speed stick.

I'd just rather have it sooner than later.

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The Liberty diesel was also canned after a year or two because of government regulations. I've seen one for sale on a used lot and they wanted quite a bit of scratch for it. There is a market for diesels, if only the feds would either stay outr or quit changing things every other year.

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