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LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Car dealers from across northeast Ohio gathered Thursday at the General Motors complex in Lordstown and left with an extra car to drive back to their lots.
In April, Chevrolet unveiled its new Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel model, which, like its gas-engine counterpart, is being built at GM Lordstown. The design keeps the engine quiet and cuts way down on emissions.
New Cruze Diesels get 46 miles-per-gallon on the highway, which is more than 700 miles on a single tank of fuel.
“So the only thing you have to stop for is if you have to go to the restroom, so you can go from Chicago to New York on one tank of gas, or fuel,” said Philip Caruso, Chevy small car marketing manager.
“The longevity of diesels, everyone knows. We’ve seen diesel automobiles with 300,000 miles on them. They’re strong,” said Tom Brittain, president of Chevy All-Stars. “This is one of the best vehicles built. I’ve driven them and they’re rated at 46, 47 miles per gallon highway, but our people who are driving them are experiencing 56 or 57.”
Brittain said the Cruze Diesel is going to be one of the most popular small cars for middle-class people.
“It was made to compete with the BMWs, the Audis. This is not just a diesel. This is a sports car,” Brittain said.
There is no spare tire in the trunk of the Cruze Diesel, just a tire inflator kit to patch a flat. Instead, there’s a diesel exhaust fuel system, which helps catch and clean particles and emissions and replenish them into more fuel.
More than 800,000 gas-engine Chevy Cruzes have rolled off the Lordstown assembly line since September 2010. It’s the number-one selling car in this area, and Chevy hopes to build on the brand’s popularity with the new diesel model.
Now, those diesel cars are ready to roll out to be seen and sold at area dealerships. Nearly 120 dealer representatives drove 61 Cruze diesels from Lordstown back to their lots on Thursday.
The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel costs $25,000 fully loaded. Diesel fuel runs about $4 per gallon, but customers still will save with fewer trips to the gas station compared to regular gas.
During Thursday’s Drive-Away event, the GM Foundation presented a $5,000 check to the Warren Family Mission. The mission relies solely on donations from the community to fund several different programs.
Mission leaders said the money will help with cold weather programs and restocking the food pantry for the coming winter months.
“We’re not just seeing families, people who are homeless, coming into the community that need food. We’re seeing families who aren’t making it, who are working. We’re seeing elderly people who are basically having to choose between medication and food,” said Michelle Beauchene, director of development for the Warren Family Mission.
The GM Foundation this year will provide $1.6 million in funding to nearly 200 organizations in 45 plant communities. About $100,000 of that will stay in the Mahoning Valley.