GM Forecasts Modest Sales For 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

General Motors’ diesel-powered 2018 Chevrolet Equinox arrives at dealers later this summer, but despite the third-generation Equinox’s anticipated popularity, diesel Equinoxes will remain rare.

According to Automobile, the overwhelming majority of Equinox buyers will not stray from the standard 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. With three-quarters of Equinox customers expected to stick with the 1.5T and 20 percent optioning up to the 252-horsepower 2.0T, GM clearly expects few buyers to line up for the diesel.

So why does GM bother?

Two reasons. First, “ We believe that there are customers who would be interested in a diesel variant,” Chevrolet spokesperson Michelle Malcho told TTAC this morning.

Second, 5 percent of Equinox volume — not F-Pace or X5 or Range Rover, but 5 percent of Equinox volume — is quite a bit.

Earlier this year, Mazda discussed its expectations for the Equinox diesel’s main competitor, GMC Terrain aside. The CX-5, Mazda hopes, will earn 10 percent of its sales from the diesel model, or about 11,000-13,000 units.

If Automobile’s Chevrolet sources are correct — GM wouldn’t confirm its forecasts for TTAC today, only stating the company “will wait to see what the volume sorts out to be when it comes to market later this year,” — we know that 5 percent of last year’s U.S. Equinox output equals more than 12,000 sales. That’s roughly the number of sales existing diesel-powered utility vehicles, collectively, can generate in a 12-month period.

And last year was not a particularly good year for the Equinox. At the end of a lifecycle that lasted eight model years, Equinox sales fell 13 percent in a booming SUV/crossover market. As a result, Equinox sales tumbled to a three-year low.

Assuming improvements in 2017, as we’ve already seen Equinox sales jump 10 percent compared with last year, General Motors will be drawing on much more than last year’s 242,195-unit Equinox output for the model’s 5-percent diesel share.Chevrolet 1.6TD diesel - Image: GMAside from the CX-5 and Equinox, neither of which are yet on sale, diesel SUVs/crossovers are exceptionally rare beasts in the United States. 14 percent of the Jaguar F-Paces sold in the first-half of 2017, or 1,368 of 9,559, were diesel-powered. Land Rover has sold 1,738 Range Rover Sport diesels and 1,403 Range Rover diesels. According to HybridCars.com, 5 percent of the BMW X5s sold, or 1,322 of 24,159, are diesels. That goes along with 725 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesels and a handful of other German luxury diesels.

This means diesels earn just 0.2 percent of America’s SUV/crossover market.

Chevrolet, with help from a CX-5 that Mazda hopes will be similarly popular, will change that number. But not by much.

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