DETROIT – Diesel-engine technology may have become poisonous to Volkswagen, but for General Motors it is akin to a ribeye steak and the Detroit automaker makes no apologies for taking another man’s lunch.

“We’ll seize the opportunity,” GM North America President Alan Batey tells WardsAuto here after announcing the all-new Chevy Cruze Hatch will receive a 1.6L 4-cyl. turbodiesel option next year. “We want to make sure we have a balanced portfolio to react to any market changes.”

The ’17 Cruze hatchback, which launches this month in the U.S. with a 1.4L turbo gasoline 4-cyl., will join the sedan in offering a diesel late next year as an ’18 model. The sedan gets the diesel in the spring. The redesigned ’18 Chevy Equinox 5-passenger CUV coming in the first quarter of 2017 also will get the 1.6L turbodiesel option.

GM started dabbling in latest-generation, light-vehicle turbodiesel technology several years ago with a 2.0L 4-cyl. for the Cruze, which nabbed a 2014 Wards 10 Best Engines award but recently was discontinued. Take-rates were slimmer than even the automaker’s most conservative estimates, because while turbodiesels offer heightened efficiency and performance it remains a niche segment with just 2.6% of U.S. engine installations in the ’16 model year, according to WardsAuto data.

The technology also comes at a cost premium and per-gallon fuel prices generally are higher.

However, the old Cruze turbodiesel’s biggest hurdle was Volkswagen. The German automaker long-dominated the LV turbodiesel market with its 1.9L and 2.0L 4-cyl. engines in the Jetta and Passat sedans and wagons and Tiguan 5-passenger CUV. That is, until last year’s emissions-cheating scandal prompted the automaker to discontinue the technology and restructure the entire company with a focus on electrification as an alternative to gasoline.

So although GM put a new diesel in its U.S. product plan several years ago, when its engineering unit in Germany began developing an all-new 1.6L turbodiesel replacement, it is doubling down on the technology by adding it to the Cruze Hatch and Equinox.

Batey does not think those VW diesel owners will stick with the brand and simply switch to a gasoline model.

“People who drive diesels love diesels,” he says. “We are providing that option.”

jamend@wardsauto.com