Back in 2007, Jeep began offering a diesel engine option for U.S.-bound Grand Cherokees. At it's peak, U.S. buyers only selected the diesel option eight percent of the time when purchasing a new Grand Cherokee. The 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine available in the vehicle was a Mercedes-Benz built unit that did not utilize the expensive urea aftertreatment system that is now required on most diesel models sold in the U.S., and it was still an expensive option.
Some estimates suggest that adding a clean diesel setup could require a price premium of $4,000, an amount that Jeep feels is too high for U.S. buyers. As Phil Jansen, the Grand Cherokee's chief engineer, plainly remarked, "It is expensive." Jansen also stated that Jeep would continue to consider a diesel option for the U.S.
"It's an open question because the business case has to make sense," said Jansen. Still, if the diesel market blooms to 15-20 percent of luxury SUV sales "then we will obviously consider it." Even though export versions of the Grand Cherokee are already equipped with diesel engines, the U.S. may have to wait a long while before we ever get another shot at buying an oil-burning Grand Cherokee.