August 8, 2005

DaimlerChrysler working to overcome diesel challenges in U.S.

Traverse City, Michigan – Developing new diesel vehicles for the U.S. market must be supported with a solid business case, said Frank Klegon, vice-president of product development process and components at DaimlerChrysler.

In Europe, where diesel vehicles make up more than 40 per cent of the market, the Chrysler Group sells diesel-powered versions of the Chrysler 300, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler PT Cruiser, and the Voyager minivan (badged as a Chrysler) and Liberty (badged as the Cherokee). “We can’t just bring a European diesel-powered passenger vehicle and put it unchanged into the U.S. market,” Klegon said. Differences in consumer preferences, regulations and fuel quality require extensive development to adapt a product for American consumers.

In North America, DaimlerChrysler offers the Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI and the Jeep Liberty CRD. More than 60,000 consumers inquired about the Liberty CRD before production began.

Recent studies have predicted a doubling of the U.S. diesel market over the next several years. Diesels typically produce a 30 per cent improvement in fuel economy, run longer than their gasoline counterparts and offer significantly higher resale value. The environmental benefits can be further enhanced with the use of biodiesel, a fuel made from plants. The Liberty CRD is fuelled at its Ohio factory with five per cent biodiesel made from soybeans.

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