A diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee is on the way. So says Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne, who announced that the upcoming model will help Chrysler reach tightening fuel economy restrictions likely requiring more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025.
According to Marchionne, who confirmed the Grand Cherokee diesel in an interview with Automotive News, Chrysler can't meet the restrictive fuel economy mandates without using alternative fuels. For the automaker, that means more diesels and even hybrid technology, which will be included in an upcoming version of its popular 300 sedan due in 2013.
That's also when Chrysler plans to release the diesel-powered Grand Cherokee, likely the first of many diesel Chryslers available stateside. While diesel power is extremely popular in Europe, the technology remains uncommon in the United States.
Diesel cars are usually more fuel-efficient than their gas-powered counterparts. Therefore, it's likely that diesel power will become more popular as all automakers look to improve their fuel economy figures. Despite perceptions from American consumers that the technology makes for noisy and slow vehicles, diesel engines rarely increase noise levels or sacrifice acceleration thanks to recent advancements in technology.
But while diesel power is slowly gaining popularity in the United States, several automakers - including Chrysler, have seen limited previous success with the technology. A diesel-powered Grand Cherokee was also offered in 2007, but was axed after just two years due to low sales figures. A diesel-powered Jeep Liberty, released in 2006, met the same fate after just one model year on the market.
Nonetheless, a handful of automakers - including Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen - offer diesel power for several U.S. models. We expect to see more companies embrace the technology - and buyers to begin to add diesel-powered cars to their shopping lists.