Diesel Emerging

Sept. 13, 2005
A renaissance for the North American auto market?

The sticker says 36 mpg, city; 42 mpg highway. a glance at the 140 MPH speedometer will confirm that it's not a Toyota hybrid, not even the Lexus RX 400h, the hybrid performance SUV from Toyota. It's a turbo-charged diesel Beetle that seems to bridge the impossible, raw power and fuel economy.

Question: Does this sly promise of economy and performance from Volkswagen portend a diesel renaissance for the North American auto market?

Chrysler has an answer in the surprising acceptance of the Jeep Liberty diesel model. Sales are climbing to 10,000 for 2005, double the amount originally predicted. At an August automotive conference, Chrysler's optimism on diesel-powered vehicles was expressed by Frank Klegon, vice president of development process and components. Low sulfur fuels and new emissions technology are also encouraging Mercedes to expand its diesel presence by 2008. One limiting factor: the capacity of Chrysler's engine producer, VM Motori of Cento, Italy. A capacity constraint is also reported for GM's Moraine, Ohio, engine plant.

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