Jeep Grand Cherokee will add diesel power in U.S.

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland

A diesel will be offered in the Jeep Grand Cherokee in the U.S. once again, according to a statement made by Chrysler Group chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne while announcing that 1,100 jobs woud be added at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan.

The diesel-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee, slated for 2013, will likely have the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 available in the Jeep SUV in Europe. That engine would fit with the current Jeep Grand Cherokee’s current line-up in the U.S. consisting of three gasoline engines: a 3.6-liter V-6, 5.7-liter V-8, and a 6.4-liter V-8. Rated at 237 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, the engine is stout enough for most tasks Grand Cherokee owners might throw at it, yet still be significantly more fuel efficient than the Grand Cherokee’s gasoline engines. Using the European Union testing procedures, the diesel Jeep is rated at the equivalent of 28 combined mpg.

The last time a diesel was offered in the Jeep Grand Cherokee was when Chrysler was owned by Daimler Benz and the engine used was the same 3.0-liter V-6 used in the Mercedes-Benz E320. However, the urea-based Bluetec exhaust control system would have been needed to get emissions under the legal limits in all 50 states. Outside estimates placed the added cost for the Bluetec system at $4,000, which Jeep thought would be too rich for most would-be diesel Grand Cherokee buyers. Despite a modest degree of sales success for the for the diesel-powered SUV—eight percent of all Grand Cherokee sales is claimed, but we never saw one other than our 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel road test vehicle—Jeep elected to drop the diesel engine after the 2010 model year, with no plans for revival.

But now, those extra 1,100 jobs? It’s a third shift to build the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. It’s where the diesel engines will be going.

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John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others. John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association. John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

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