The steady rise in oil prices has apparently led Chrysler’s Jeep division to rethink the opportunities for fuel-stingy diesel engines. A senior executive says the brand could have a new diesel in its line-up within the next few years.
Jeep has experimented with diesels, in recent years, both with the Liberty and larger Grand Cherokee models. But with fuel prices soaring nationwide, many analysts – and apparently some key Chrysler executives – are convinced demand for “oil burners” could soar. More importantly, they might deliver enough of a mileage boost to keep demand for SUVs from collapsing, as briefly happened when gas prices surged past $4 a gallon in mid-2008.
The possibility of a diesel came up during a meeting at Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI where Jeep pulled the wraps off four custom kits for its various sport-ute models that will be participating in the annual Easter Jeep Safari, in Moab, Utah, later this month.
“Diesel in some of our models makes absolute sense,” Jeep Brand CEO Michael Manley said. “But I still have to make sure there is a sufficient marketplace here to make it make sense from a business perspective.”