Nov. 13, 2007: Source – PR Newswire

Grand Cherokee

Chrysler wants to pave the road to greener transportation with clean diesel—but its misuse of the word of “clean” and “renewable” throws up a road block. The company is now offering its Common Rail Direct-Injection (CRD) diesel engine on the base-level Laredo model. Previously, it was only available in the uplevel Grand Cherokee Limited and Overland.

The trail-rated Laredo offers 7,400 pounds of towing capacity, and combined fuel economy around 20 mpg—all for the price of approximately $35,000. Chrysler also reduced the price of the Limited and Overland diesel options by $1,000.

That’s good news for consumers looking for a more affordable, more efficient SUV. But just how clean is it? The Grand Cherokee CRD is not a production version of the BLUETEC Grand Cherokee engineering concept vehicle announced earlier this year. A BLUETEC implementation would meet the new federal Tier 2 Bin 5 standards which map to tough California emissions standards, thereby allowing the vehicle to be sold in all 50 states. This current Jeep CRD is only available in 42 states.

Furthermore, John Plecha, director of Jeep Brand Marketing and Global Communications, in a company press release, said, “By expanding engine availability and reducing existing prices, we hope that more consumers will be encouraged to take advantage of this clean, renewable fuel.” This statement is deceptive (unless he was referring to biodiesel). The diesel fuel more commonly available at conventional gas stations is a petroleum-based non-renewable fossil fuel.

Chrysler’s half-truths about the ability of the vehicle to reduce emission or wean Americans off of non-renewable fuel sources dilute the strong marketing message: Here’s an affordable 3.0-liter V6 SUV able to deliver 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg highway (for 4×2 models). In addition, the bending of the definition of “clean diesel” could undermine the efforts of diesel-engine producers to clarify the advantages of the new technology—leaving the public confused about dirty old diesels and new clean diesel.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo CRD will join the rest of the diesel lineup on showroom floors this month.

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