GM Raises Cruze Diesel Fuel-Use Estimate 9.5% to 46 MPG

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co. said the new Chevrolet Cruze diesel sedan will get an estimated 46 miles (74 kilometers) per gallon in highway driving, 4 miles better than the company said in February.

The Cruze diesel, which starts at $25,695, including freight charges, goes on sales in some U.S. cities, including Milwaukee and Baltimore, beginning in June followed by a national introduction in the fourth quarter, Annalisa Bluhm, a Chevrolet spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

The model is one of about 20 new vehicles Detroit-based GM is bringing out in the U.S. this year as the automaker works to replace an aging lineup following its 2009 U.S. bankruptcy reorganization. GM’s U.S. market share dropped to an 88-year-low in 2012 as Toyota Motor Corp. rebounded from natural disasters in Asia in 2011. GM, Toyota and Volkswagen AG are vying to be the world’s best-selling automaker.

VW has seen increasing success from its diesel vehicles in the U.S. About 20 percent of VW’s 146,478 Jetta sedan deliveries last year in the U.S. were diesel, according to the company.

Gary Altman, chief engineer for Chevrolet small cars, told reporters in February that the diesel Cruze was expected to get 42 mpg on the highway.

“We were still testing at the time,” Bluhm said. “Engineers really went for incremental improvements and got 46.”

GM has said it hasn’t sold a diesel car in the U.S. since the 1986 Chevrolet Chevette.

GM fell 1 percent to $28.98 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 0.5 percent this year compared with an 8.1 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Southfield, Michigan at thiggins21@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net