Chrysler hoping that diesel engines will generate enough demand in the US

Article by Christian A., on November 13, 2012

Diesel is quite expensive but Chrysler Group is hoping that it will generate enough demand so that it can use diesel engines on its other models. Chrysler is preparing to offer diesel-powered Jeep SUVs in the U.S. By early next year, it will start to sell Jeep Grand Cherokees in North America. These are equipped with an impressive 3.0-liter diesel engine presently used in Europe.

This engine will be coupled with Chrysler's Torqueflite 8-speed automatic transmission. The mileage rating has not been disclosed yet but it’s likely that Jeep's luxury SUV will have a rating similar to that of a full-sized sedan. How the diesel-powered Grand Cherokee performs next year in the market is a test of whether diesel engines will be available for its other models, such as the Jeep Wrangler.

The price of diesel is a major consideration so if consumers aren’t willing to spend so much for it, Chrysler will probably delay offering diesel engines in the U.S. by a few more years. A Chrysler powertrain executive had explained in the past that it isn’t pollution controls that prevent the wider use of diesel in the U.S. Instead, it’s because of oil refiners that have a limited market for their diesel product so they couldn’t bring the price down.

The launch of the Jeep Grand Cherokee nearly 18 years ago marked the birth of the premium SUV segment. Since then, Jeep has sold over four million units of the Grand Cherokee and the saga continues with unending improvement of this premium SUV in terms of on-road performance and real-world capability. Now, Jeep is presenting the latest installment of this premium monster – the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

As created, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee still features the brand’s already iconic four-wheel-drive, torque-on-demand two-speed transfer case as well as outstanding towing capability while injecting a sense of premium on-the-road performance. Moreover, the new Grand Cherokee is up to 11 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessor. Scott Kunselman, Vice President for Jeep/Truck Product Team at Chrysler LLC, remarked that the new Jeep Grand Cherokee is a result of listening both to customers and the market.

Underpinning the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a proven rear-wheel-drive unibody platform shared with the Mercedes-Benz ML. Allowing the new Jeep Grand Cherokee to boast of the vaunted Jeep off-road capability is the new Quadra-Lift air suspension system, as backed by the new Selec-Terrain system that enables drivers to pic a drive system that best suits the current driving conditions. In addition, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee has new front and rear independent suspension systems.

Mike Accavitti, Director for the Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge Brands, noted that the carmaker invented the SUV segment, and the new Grand Cherokee marks the next step in the evolution of the SUV. He added that Jeep innovations like the Quadra-Lift air suspension and Selec-Terrain traction control allow the carmaker to stand out from rest of SUVs.

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