DaimlerChrysler: Diesel SUV In, Out

Posted on June 5, 2006

Chrysler Group, a unit of DaimlerChrysler AG, said it would offer a diesel version of its Jeep Grand Cherokee early next year, reportedly the first full-size SUV for sale in the United States with a diesel engine.

A few days later, the Chrysler Group said it is halting production of the diesel version of its small Jeep Liberty SUV because its diesel engine doesn't meet tougher federal emissions standards taking effect next year.

First the diesel that’s in. The 3.0 liter turbocharged diesel engine for the Grand Cherokee would be supplied by Mercedes-Benz and built in Berlin. It is reportedly 30 percent more fuel efficient than a gasoline equivalent.

The new Cherokee model, which will go on sale in the first quarter of 2007, will also run on B5, a blend of 5-percent biodiesel and 95-percent regular diesel fuel, Chrysler said.

On the other hand, in stopping production of the diesel-powered Jeep Liberty SUV, Chrysler has decided not to develop a cleaner diesel engine for the Liberty, with a the company saying "We couldn't make a credible business case for such an investment, especially for a limited production number of vehicles." More than 11,000 have been sold since its introduction for the 2005 model year.

For 2007, the Jeep Liberty will be available only with a gasoline engine. However, Chrysler said, "We are still committed to diesel technology."