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Jeep May Launch U.S. Diesel

Maker also unveils six customized models.

by on Apr.08, 2011

The Jeep Wrangler Pork Chop: a conventional Wrangler on a diet.

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.

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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.”


Jeep Balancing Off-Road Chops and Fuel Stops

SUV brand helps set course for resurgent Chrysler.

by on Feb.15, 2011

Jeep aims to pull the rest of Chrysler uphill.

As pundits write endlessly about the resurgence of Chrysler, they talk mostly about the influx of new product at the company’s Dodge and Chrysler brands. But the troubled U.S. maker’s turnaround will also rely on its off-road brand, Jeep.

Despite being the first one of the Chrysler/Fiat’s five brands to launch a major new product as the company plotted its post-bankruptcy strategy, Jeep has been almost an afterthought. Just don’t tell that to Mike Manley, the president and CEO of the brand.

If you do, you’ll be reminded that Jeep Grand Cherokee — redesigned for 2011 and launched last summer — was the first Chrysler product to be launched as part of the new product offensive. And it was good enough to land on the finalist list for North American Truck of the Year.

Manley also will remind you that the compact Compass SUV was recently refreshed and is now trail-rated, and that other Jeep models have been significantly updated in one way or the other, mostly with updated interiors.

“We were the first brand to make news this year,” Manley said. “We’ve got some very good space now.”