Chrysler CEO Confirms Jeep Diesel, More Hybrids Under Development

In order to meet more stringent fuel-economy regulations, Chrysler Group will introduce diesel-powered and hybrid vehicles in the U.S. market. Automotive News reports that Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne sees such powertrains as the only way for Chrysler to meet future Corporate Average Fuel Economy rules.

Marchionne revealed that Chrysler will launch a diesel version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2013. Thereafter, many larger Chrysler vehicles will be offered with diesels in the U.S. Chrysler has said that by 2014, diesels would account for 14 percent of its global sales, compared to 8 percent in 2009.

Most Chrysler products exported to Europe are already sold with diesel engines.European-market Grand Cherokees can be equipped with a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 producing 237 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Sources in Europe previously revealed that the new eight-speed automatic transmission, which will debut in the Jeep Grand Cherokee soon, was suitable for use with the 3.0-liter diesel engine.

Jeep previously sold two diesel models in our market. The 2005 and 2006 Jeep Liberty was offered with a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel inline-four, producing 160 hp and 295 lb-ft. Then the 2007 and 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee CRD launched with a Mercedes-built, 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 producing 215 hp and 376 lb-ft.

While diesel powertrains will help Chrysler boost its fuel-economy numbers somewhat, the company also will invest in hybrid technology. Marchionne had previously shied away from hybrid technology, saying it was costly and sold in low volumes, but now apparently sees it as essential. The first production model will be the 2013 Chrysler 300 hybrid, expected to use that car’s new ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.

“I have no other way of getting to 2025 [CAFE] numbers than by going to hybrids,” Marchionne told AN.

If that doesn’t do enough to help Chrysler meet the government’s aggressive CAFE rules, the company also could consider adding vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. Marchionne reportedly wants “a sizable portion of the U.S. market” to have CNG capability.

Source: Automotive News

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