Chrysler to Sell Diesel Jeep Liberty in North America From 2004
DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler group has announced it is to test-market diesel-powered Jeep Liberty [exported as the Cherokee] SUVs in the United States and Canada from 2004.While DaimlerChrysler offers a range of diesel-powered passenger vehicles in Europe, where approximately 35 percent of vehicles are powered by diesel engines, the Liberty will be the first light-duty sport-utility vehicle with a diesel powertrain to go on sale in the United States and Canada.The diesel Jeep Liberty will be powered by a 2.8-liter common rail turbo- diesel engine produced by DaimlerChrysler’s Detroit Diesel division. It will be available with manual or automatic transmission, as well as two- or four-wheel drive. It is expected that the diesel-powered Liberty will have up to a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with a gasoline-powered version.Chrysler president and CEO Dieter Zetsche told the DaimlerChrysler Innovation Symposium in New York that the United States could reduce its oil use by approximately 800 million gallons and carbon dioxide emissions by eight million tons annually if Americans purchased diesels at the same rate as Europeans.Zetsche also called on regulators and oil refiners to work together to resolve diesel emissions challenges that will be tested by new tailpipe standards that will go into effect in 2006.Around the world, the Chrysler Group currently offers diesel engines in the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Voyager minivans. In Western Europe, diesel- powered vehicles comprise 56 percent of Chrysler's total sales volume.Diesel Cherokee models currently account for 65 percent of that line's total sales in Western Europe.