Jeep kills diesel Liberty in U.S.

Discussion in 'Diesel powered automobiles' started by xcel, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Tougher emission regulations cited as reason popular version of compact SUV is going extinct.

    Josee Valcourt -The Detroit News - June 5, 2006


    While DaimlerChrysler's Jeep brand is touting its plan to build a Grand Cherokee with a fuel-efficient diesel engine, the automaker quietly ended production of a successful diesel version of its Jeep Liberty SUV for the U.S. market.

    The reason? The engine for the compact SUV doesn't meet tougher federal emissions standards that go into effect next year, and Chrysler said it wasn't cost-effective to the replace the engine with a more modern version.

    "The emission standards are becoming very stringent, and we weren't able to make a credible business case for a limited production vehicle," Chrysler spokeswoman Dianna Gutierrez told The Detroit News.

    Chrysler's move to stop selling the Liberty in the United States comes despite its success. Liberty sales more than doubled expectations of 5,000 units last year.

    In addition, Chrysler has strongly supported diesel engines as a more fuel-efficient option for U.S. drivers. Last week, Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda touted diesel technology at a meeting of Michigan political, business and civic leaders on Mackinac Island.

    LaSorda announced Chrysler will roll out a diesel-powered Grand Cherokee SUV in 2007. Mercedes, Chrysler's sibling division in DaimlerChrysler AG, will make the Grand Cherokee engine.

    "This doesn't mean that since we're discontinuing the Jeep Liberty diesel that we're not committed to diesel," Gutierrez said.

    She declined to say whether Chrysler will eventually market the Liberty with a more modern diesel engine. For 2007, at least, the Liberty will be available only with a gasoline engine.

    The diesel Liberty, which is built in Toledo, will still be sold in Europe, where diesels are far more popular and emission regulations are less stringent.

    "Our goal was to test (U.S.) consumer interest in a diesel-powered vehicle and, based on the Liberty diesel, it obviously exceeded our expectations," Gutierrez said.

    Dealers are eager to get the diesel Grand Cherokee.

    Alan Helfman of River Oaks Chrysler-Jeep in Houston sold 30 to 40 Liberty diesels last year.

    "It was a good little seller," Helfman said. "But the Grand Cherokee will sell even better. The diesel in the Grand Cherokee will be utopia, especially since it's a Mercedes diesel."

    Italy's VM Motori makes the diesel engine for the Liberty.

    Chrysler's decision to end diesel Liberty sales in the United States makes sense given the regulatory environment, said Casey Selecman, an automotive analyst with Farmington Hills-based CSM Worldwide Inc.

    Volkswagen will temporarily discontinue diesels in the United States and come back with versions that meet the new emissions standards, Selecman said.

    "Everybody's waiting for the diesel fuel quality to change over so that they're able to use future emissions equipment that they can't use right now," he said.

    Diesel vehicles account for a small portion of U.S. auto sales, but are expected to grow as high gas prices stoke demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles.

    In April, J.D. Power and Associates said light-vehicle diesel sales are projected to grow from 3.2 percent of U.S. auto sales in 2005 to more than 10 percent by 2015.
  2. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Is Washington Looking the Other Way?

    I don't quite understand why the Feds are letting Jeep and VW drop diesels, yet Pres Bush has talked up clean diesels. I'd expect Democrats to find a way to require diesel clean enough to keep these vehicles on the market.
  3. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    The current problem with diesel is NOx emissions, which you get no matter how clean the fuel is. This is mainly due to the fact that they normally run with excess air. (No throttle plate, fuel is metered to control load.) There are technologies in existence to clean up the exhaust but they do cost money, and it will be expensive for companies to implement them. Urea injection and metallic nitrogen "traps" are both technologies that we will see. I suspect that Chrysler's decision to implement the diesel on the Grand Cherokee ($$$) first is to conceal some of the added cost in a higher-priced vehicle. The Mercedes E-class will be getting the same treatment (unless they have a different setup in mind for the Jeep...I know Blu Tech is going on the Merc.)
  4. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    I think this is exactly the problem lean burn has.
  5. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Yup, that's 100% correct. Any time you have nitrogen and oxygen together at high temperature, regardless of the fuel source, you risk producing NOx. Come to think of it, these technologies would be really nice if if meant bringing back gasoline lean burn like in your Insight!
  6. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    I heard 07 will be the year that VW and any other company will tweak their diesels to support low sulfur for the 08 year.

    One year wait isn't too bad.
  7. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Yesterday I saw a huge billboard like this one (but different gas station)...


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