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GM Plans Diesel Passenger Cars in U.S. by 2010: Report

General Motors plans to offer diesel-engine cars under the Cadillac and Saturn brands in the United States by 2010, industry journal Automotive News reported, citing a source familiar with the plan.

The United States will gradually begin enforcing the world's strictest regulations for harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions starting from 2008 model year cars, and GM has been lukewarm about clean diesel engines as a solution for boosting fuel economy citing the high cost of development.

In a video blog on the company's website dated Thursday, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz confirmed the top U.S. automaker would use clean diesel engines in passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and other light-duty trucks.

He stressed, however, that emissions hardware and control systems needed to meet the standards would add another $2,000 to $2,800 to the $1,000-$2,000 premium that already exists for diesels over gasoline-engine cars.

GM would be joining diesel front-runners such as Daimlerand Volkswagen, as well as Japan's Nissan Motor and Honda Motor in promising diesel cars compliant with the U.S. Tier 2 bin 5 emissions standards.

Toyota Motor has yet to join the growing list, saying clean diesels would end up being more expensive than gasoline-electric hybrids, a segment it dominates.

Company sources say GM will show a diesel engine at the Frankfurt auto show in September on an e-flex Opel Vectra, Automotive News said on its website. In GM's e-flex powertrain, a traditional engine recharges a battery pack that provides power for an electric motor.

GM will show the same variant at the Detroit auto show in January on a Saturn, most likely the Aura sedan, the industry journal said. The diesel engine will power the Opel Vectra in Europe in 2008, and the next-generation Aura in the United States if all goes as planned, it said.

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