Chrysler has offered oil burning engines as an option in almost all the vehicles they sell in Europe since the late nineties including the minivans. Up until sales of the Jeep Liberty CRD blew past sales projections a couple of years ago, diesels in the North American market were restricted to the big Cummins unit in the Ram pickups. Now however, Chrysler is seriously looking at spreading the diesel love to more models, starting with the Grand Cherokee this year. The vans sold in the European market are assembled at a plant in Austria operated by Magna Steyr, and offer a VM Motori diesel. However, DaimlerChrysler is consolidating assembly of Euro market vans at the US plant in St. Louis, MO. The VM Motori engines will be shipped here and installed in vehicles bound for Europe.
Mercedes is currently developing a new clean 2.2L turbo-diesel four cylinder that will enter production in 2010. Since Chrysler will already be installing these engines in European market vans at domestic plants, it would make sense to offer the engine in vehicles for domestic sale as well. The diesel engine would be a good option for the vans because of their torque capability and good mileage.
[Source: Automotive News - subscription required]