For its North American market, Jeep doesn't plan on offering a diesel version of the redesigned 2011 Grand Cherokee in the near future. But for Europe, Jeep will start exporting the diesel-powered Grand Cherokee early next year. At a press event, Phil Jansen, the Grand Cherokee's chief engineer, said that before offering the model to North America, "the business case has to make sense."
The issue is centered on the number of US buyers that would accept the pricing for the engine and the system for the urea aftertreatment.
The requirement for the urea system is that it has to comply with emissions standards in 50 states. Jansen didn't provide a figure but he said that this costs a lot. Some urea-system diesels are known to have a price premium of up to $4,000. As an option on the 2009 Grand Cherokee, Jeep offers a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine that was produced by Mercedes-Benz. A 3.7-liter V-6 gasoline engine is standard.
Jeep won't be offering the diesel in the 2010 model. Meanwhile, the export version of the 2011 Grand Cherokee will come with a 3.0-liter diesel V-6 made by VM Motori.
US diesel sales of the previous-generation Grand Cherokee peaked at about 8%. Jansen explained that one factor that Jeep considered is the fact that diesel fuel prices went past gasoline. However, he said that the company will reconsider when diesels account for 15 to 20% of luxury SUV sales. [via autonews - sub. required]