By RICHARD TRUETT
CHICAGO - The Jeep Liberty may get a diesel engine for America, said Rich Schaum, Chrysler group executive vice president of product development and quality.
In an interview at the Chicago Auto Show last week, Schaum said the company will decide by year end whether to test market a diesel engine in U.S. versions of the Liberty.
Schaum said if the team signs off on the idea, Chrysler likely would adapt for the U.S. market the Liberty's European 2.5-liter turbocharged diesel.
Schaum said Chrysler has been studying Volkswagen AG's experience selling diesel-powered versions of the New Beetle, Jetta and Golf. About 10 percent of the sales of those models are diesel, according to Volkswagen. Last summer, when gasoline prices soared to more than $2.50 per gallon in some cities, VW dealers' lots were picked clean of diesels.
"There are people who love the (VW diesels) from the last fuel shock. What I would say is a more valid business case is you go after fleet sales for rural delivery for mail. I am wondering if people in the United States, in the name of fuel efficiency, would want one," he said.
But Schaum said diesel engines in cars and small sport-utilities have an uphill battle in the United States. "The business case is not all that good when fuel is cheaper than bottled water in this country," he said.
"Our market test, in my opinion, should be in SUVs. I think the market test for passenger cars exists. Volkswagen has the experience. Look at the numbers; VW has sold some."
Re: Jeep Liberty's European 2.5-liter turbocharged diesel may get U.S. test (Dinosaurius)
i see a pattern, first heard about the pt cruiser with the diesel now the jeep liberty... hey we all may get our wishes... more diesels on the road.. eventually the word will get out specially when alot of folks are looking for more MPG... way cool
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