The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Chevrolet Cruze Goes 'Shields Up' for Max Protection

chevrolet (select to view enlarged photo)

Segment-exclusive underbody splash shields improve durability and fuel economy

FYI: Chevrolet Buyer's Guide

DETROIT--Dec. 12, 2011: When it comes to making sure the Chevrolet Cruze is as durable as it can be, Dave Schoener and his teammates are all wet.

As a GM splash test engineer, Schoener helped develop an innovative splash shield for the Chevrolet Cruze that protects the engine compartment from water and potentially harmful contaminants.

In addition, the splash shields, a segment exclusive in the Cruze, help prevent underbody corrosion by repelling water, dirt and mud. They also contribute to the Cruze's excellent fuel economy -- an EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway for Cruze Eco -- by reducing wind drag.

"With the Cruze, you have a very comprehensive splash protector on an entry sedan that you typically wouldn't see except in high-end luxury vehicles," said Schoener.

Schoener recommended adding underbody shields to the Cruze after observing repeated splash tests in GM's new $1.4-million Flooded Road Lab at the company's Milford, Mich. Proving Ground.

There, engineers drove the Cruze through a submerged roadway filled with two to 12 inches of standing water -- at speeds ranging from 5 to 35 miles per hour -- to ensure long-term quality and dependability. Schoener and his team used the lab learning to find solutions to keep water, grit, salt and other contaminants away from the Cruze's engine and transmission.

Facilities such as the Flooded Road Lab demonstrate GM's commitment to vehicle quality, where thousands of miles of simulated abuse provide opportunities to improve vehicles before they reach customers. Underbody splash shields are among many improvements made as the result of GM's vigorous long-term durability testing.

A long-distance runner, Schoener compares long-term durability testing to preparing for a marathon race.

"Just as I train to build endurance before each race, achieving long-term vehicle durability comes from putting the Cruze through its paces here at the Proving Ground. We do intense durability testing to ensure our customers get top-quality vehicles they will enjoy for many years."