By on April 4, 2013

The Chrysler 300 is already equipped with a diesel for world markets, and there’s a possibility we may see an oil-burning 300 on our shores as well.

Speaking to Ward’s Auto, Chrysler brand CEO Saad Chebab noted that it all came down to cost.

“I think that we are in talks about the diesels because the Thema has a diesel in Europe anyway…it’s a matter of how much the customer is willing to pay for that premium. That’s the only issue with it.”

Chrysler is rolling out diesel engines on the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, with a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 made by VM Motori. But the diesel and the 8-speed automatic carry a premium of a few thousand dollars on the Grand Cherokee, a hefty sum, especially in the already declining full-size market.

Chebab also hinted that the Chrysler 200 may get a diesel option during its next generation, stating that “we have that opportunity to do it at any time.”

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51 Comments on “Chrysler 200, 300 Diesel Under Consideration...”

  • avatar


  • avatar

    What are the power numbers? Diesels always fascinate me because of their hp/torque ratios. The always make me think of the smog strangled big blocks of the 70s where you would get something like less than 200hp and then 375 lb ft of torque. Like having a tractor engine in your Cadillac.

  • avatar

    They need to bring back the Magnum and offer it with a manual. Then they will sell like hotcakes!

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    As a former W123 owner I like diesels, but the ecomomics of diesel passenger cars in the US just don’t work for me. The fuel premium of diesel to regular gas is almost perfectly offset by the higher mpg of the diesel. Esentially, you never recover the price premium of the diesel engine. And, if something on the diesel breaks before 300K miles, (TDI anyone) you really lose relative to the equivalent gasser

    • 0 avatar

      236hp and 398lb-ft of torque….

      It seems in this day in age diesels might be a performance option like a v-8 or a turbo.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. Having owned a mid-’90s TDI Passat, an older 300d Benz, another late-2000s diesel E-class; and having driven the 3/4 ton diesel trucks, I must say that in modern terms, the cost doesn’t favor diesel in the US. It is, at best, a wash compared to high-test gas once the up-front cost is taken into account.

        One buys diesel because one prefers how it drives. A modern diesel is usually not as quick off the line as its gas sibling, but it can be a very satisfying way to drive.

        I do wish America could become a people who prefer diesel to gas. I suspect it could be much cheaper at the pump with some more economy of scale. America’s lower speed limits support wider diesel adoption, too.

        • 0 avatar

          I’m confused diesel’s are very quick off the line due to torque but as soon as other things get more engine speed they will quickly go past them.

          As cars go to direct injection i believe the diesel will have a bigger advantage over gasoline direct injection. Just cost wise, gdi cannot be cheap to replace.

          • 0 avatar

            Diesels are not quick off the line though. They just have a narrow power band Don’t confuse them with an old big V-8.

            For example:


            Sadly the max torque and max HP numbers you get don’t really tell you about the engine.

            Turbo engines suffer from turbo lag and are weak off the line. This is similiar to most diesels – except they are weak at the top as well.

            Diesels just have a narrow powerband. They are not all they are cracked up to be. Its not like driving a high displacement V-8 with great gas mileage..

            Its like driving a 2.0T passat that can’t rev past 4000.

        • 0 avatar

          If they did the demand would reduce the price and extend the diesel infrastructure.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I’m not quite sure your math works out . . . especially because EPA mileage for diesels seems to understate owners’ actual mileage. Just checking “gas buddy” right now here in Washington, DC, Sunoco regular is $4.19/US gal. and diesel at the same station is $4.45/US gal. That’s less than a 10% premium; and it seems like diesel-powered vehicles pretty consistently get 20% (or more) better fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts. While this may not make sense for a gasoline vehicle getting in the mid-20s or better, e.g. a VW Golf (unless one does a lot of driving), it does make sense for a vehicle that uses more gasoline, such as an SUV or a big sedan. That said, the EPA rates the V-6 powered 300 with the new 8-speed automatic at 30 mpg highway, and that car is hardly slow . . . and a $7500 price premium for the oil-burner is pretty steep.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Yes, the MSRP premium on diesel engines is more concerning to me than the higher per gallon cost of fuel. Spending thousands more on an engine to get better fuel economy never made sense to me; it can take nearly a decade to make up the difference in saved fuel costs.

        • 0 avatar

          Maintenance is also significantly more expensive on the diesels. They require the use of reductant fluid now as well.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s a trade off: less wearable parts (spark plugs, coils, spark plug wires) but potential more expensive failures (high pressure pumps, etc). From what I’ve seen, maintenance is roughly the same.

            Reductant fluid is not very expensive and is going to get cheaper as more and more big rigs use it. Flying J apparently has it for $3.60/gallon. I’d expect others to follow along.

          • 0 avatar

            Not all require reductant. Urea is relatively cheap — that whole thing is way overblown.

            However, many have diesel particulate filters which can be expensive to replace, if you actually have to do it.

            I haven’t seen enough evidence that the maintenance is that much more intensive for diesels. It seems like the same people who whine without having a clue about German cars, where some commenters think doing routine maintenance like oil changes, transmission fluid, and timing belt (on applicable cars) is “OCD”.

  • avatar

    in Brazil diesel doesn’t make sense cause of the insurance premium. A leading mag showed recently for the ranger and colorado-s10 that you have to drive 80k km to get back the difference just in mileage. Couple that with the fact that to insure a pu with diesel most insurance companies demand that the buyer put a tracking device, which of course the buyer pays. Makes no sense unless you have to tow. I for one am glad that diesel is not available for cars here.

  • avatar

    Without the European tax incentives, diesel is making less sense for passenger vehicles every year as gasoline engines become more efficient and turbo charging is closing the torque gap.

    Offering this engine in all of their trucks and SUVs, however, would make a lot more sense.

    • 0 avatar

      I think someone here coined the term the “dieselization” of the gasoline engine. Manufacturers seem to be heading towards engine designs that capitalize on the features of diesel engines (high compression, turbocharging, direct injection) while sidestepping the emissions issues. Sad for N/A freaks like me but since turbochargers will never make sense on motorcycles, and old cars are lasting a lot longer on the road (what % of 1973 model cars were on the road 20 yrs ago, vs 1993 cars today?) I am OK.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sure they’ll sell SOME of the diesel-equipped vehicles in the US. There are always going to be a few fans and believers. Remember the Olds 350 V8 Diesel? It came in Caddies too! Some were sold. Where is it now? The GM pickup truck diesel is an entirely different animal.

      By and large, diesel passenger cars were tried in the past and didn’t quite hack it on scale in America. That’s why the majority of vehicles in the US are gasoline-powered. Gas is the best value for the buck! With Diesel fuel, you have to fight the truckers, construction and the railroads for availability.

      I bought a 1972 Euro-spec Mercedes 220D at Schiphol International Airport, tax-free, in 1972 for my mom and dad so they could tour all over Europe (which is where they were from) for the years that they stayed with me in Heidelberg, Germany, where I was stationed.

      It was a nice, roomy touring sedan for two adults but my dad had no intention of bringing a diesel back to the US to drive. I had no problem selling it to an Air Force Captain who used it for three years and then sold it to another incoming officer.

      Eventually, my wife’s uncle, who had a Mercedes dealership near Heidelberg, ended up buying it after many, many years and many owners. The “import” tax he had to pay on it was negligible by then.

      Without special incentives in the US, like those of the EVs, ANY passenger-diesel will always be a fringe-element niche car. America isn’t Europe!

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        I think the failure of diesel-powered cars in the US in the late 70s and early 80s is that manufacturers — with the exception of Mercedes — rushed these engines into production, as “dieselized” versions of gasoline engines. GM was not the only manufacturer who committed this sin. So was Volkswagen (the original Rabbit diesel was based on the gasoline engine designed for the car), Volvo (who purchased a 6-cylinder diesel engine from VW to put in their stations wagons) and Audi, who dieselized their 2.1 liter 5-cylinder engine developed for their large “100” sedan. Without exception, these engines proved reliability nightmares for their owners, although some were worse than others.

        The exceptions were the 2.4 liter 4-cylinder Benz engine, which was designed from the ground up as a diesel and the 3-liter 5-cylinder Benz engine, also designed from the ground-up as a diesel. Properly cared for, these engines are indestructible.

        The fuel economy gains of the diesel were quite real, however. My
        Audi 5000 diesel averaged 30 mpg and would get 35 mpg on the highway. The gasoline version would get at least 10 mpg less.

        Of course, oil prices collapsed in the mid-1980s, so the need for fuel economy was trivial.

        • 0 avatar

          DC Bruce, excellent dissertation on the history of the passenger-car diesel in the US. Clear, concise, to the point.

          Back then, fuel economy was not a big factor in choosing diesel over gasoline.

          But availability, as you may recall, was about on par with what EV-charging stations are these days. Few and far between.

          The only way you could fill up your diesel-powered conveyance if you were traveling cross-country during the seventies was to find a truck stop along the Interstate system and tank up alongside the truckers.

          Often, much to the chagrin of the truckers, I might add. And many neighborhood gas stations didn’t offer diesel-fuel pumps.

          My dad did not want to wait in line behind some American trucker who was loading up with 400 gallons of diesel to fill up the 85-liter tank in the 220D.

          But a $7500 tax-incentive for a diesel-car buyer TODAY would go a long way in promoting diesel power in today’s passenger cars.

          From my own perspective, I’ll stick with gasoline and I believe that the vast majority of Americans will also.

          These possible offerings from Chrysler are nice variations on the diesel theme but I doubt that it will garner them many converts.

          Gasoline is the most versatile automotive-related product that I can think of, as I use it not only for automotive fuel, but also as a solvent to clean parts, a detergent to wash down greasy engines, a detergent to remove oil and tar from the paint of a vehicle and the driveway, a stain remover, and a firestarter for burning trash and weeds.

          Not something that I can easily do with diesel. And besides, the cost of gasoline is just not a biggie for me, just like most Americans who keep buying it no matter what it costs.

          Gasoline is a bargain at any price.

  • avatar

    I do remember a report right here on TTAC that stated how long you have to own a gas-sipping car before it pays for itself. The worst performer was the Chevy Volt at 26 years. the Prius around 5 or 6 years. But the very best was a VW Golf diesel at 1 year.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    300 diesel makes sense. The mechanical bits exist for the EDM and the US emissions work was done for the Ram and Cherokee, so a 300D (if they have the balls to give MB the finger and call it that) is a low-cost parts-bin option.

    200 diesel is a whole other matter. Smaller engine bay, transverse layout, etc. I wouldn’t expect one unless Cruze and Mazda6 diesel sales take off.

  • avatar


    I get your point about the diesel for Jeep GC being too expensive for what you get relative to full size SUV market, but your math seems to be off, at least in the U. S.

    According the Jeep’s U. S. web site, adding the 3.0 diesel engine to Jeep GC Limited (can’t get it on the base Laredo package) adds $4500 in cost. Not sure where you are getting $7500….is that in Loonies??

  • avatar

    If Chrysler wants to moove diesels, they need to do what Mercedes has done with the E and S Classes. Have a diesel as the cheapest entry-level powertrain for the model and have thr bigger gas engines as more expensive options.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s easier if you’re Mercedes and most of your gas engines are expensive to produce in the first place then if you’re Chrysler and your gasoline engines are so cheap that they have porous blocks and heads.

  • avatar

    A couple of summers back a good friend of mine had the 300 Station Wagon with a diesel. We towed a trailer with 6 sport bikes from Stuttgart to Livorno, Italy en route to Sardinia for a week of riding. Also, were the sport bike riders in the wagon. Very, very comfortable for all involved with NO indication that it might be a diesel until we stopped to fill it up. Even possibly overloaded if performed well (might be that the speed limit in Germany with a trailer is 100 KPH, Once it Italy a “speedy” 120 kph is allowed but it still impressed me. But, I had a 3/4 ton GMC company truck in the US with the 350 Olds Diesel option so perhaps I am too easily impressed these days?

  • avatar

    No chance a diesel 200 sees the light of day

  • avatar

    They have been selling reasonably well here. Not the biggest seller though as fuel economy is not as vital as in Europe or elsewhere.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Personally I think diesel will take off in the US.

    Remember the US is behind the 8 ball in many respects in this area.

    Diesel cars sales have picked up substantially over the past couple of years as well.

    I also see a lot of commentators using the price of gasoline in comparison to diesel as an ‘excuse’.

    We have similar price differences between these fuels in Australia and diesel is taking off. We are not as ‘dieselised’ as the Euro countries yet.

    As vehicle technology improves you will also see more premium gas fueled vehicles. This will also make diesel more attractive.

    Also the V are more expensive than the new breed of 4 cylinder diesels coming out. Within a couple of years 4 cylinder diesels with similar outputs to this will become more affordable.

    Another argument for diesel is the technology still has much further to go, whereas gasoline technology is reaching its zenith.

    Not now, but the US will see a more gradual acceptance of diesel and it will end up like the rest of the world.

    • 0 avatar

      Should the US fleet make a large shift to diesel, we’re all going to be paying dearly. Crude oil doesn’t magically transmogrify into whichever refined product one desires. Instead, each quantity of crude yields smaller quantities of a variety of useful products. The result is that today the US exports diesel to Europe and imports gasoline from Europe. Were Europeans to allow market forces instead of tax schedules dictate which vehicles people bought, chances are we could cut out this bit of unnecessary trade, saving the fuel consumed in shipping fuel back and forth needlessly. Diesel would fall in price in the US and consumption would increase as a result. Should the US instead adopt diesel without a corresponding reduction in European consumption, the price goes up for everyone, although gasoline should get cheaper everywhere – assuming the nitwits that tax energy don’t get greedy.

      It’s impossible to believe anyone involved in regulating energy consumption actually believes CO2 is a pollutant. Shipping fuels back and forth increases CO2 production. US diesel emissions standards that raise consumption in the name of reduced particulates increase CO2 production. Emissions control standards that were targeted at reducing CO and nitrogen oxides lowered compression ratios and greatly increased fuel consumption, also increasing CO2 production. If we’re serious about conserving carbon based fuels without lowering the standards of living of the gross majority of people, then we need to look at undistorted energy demands. There is a mechanism for determining such things, but it isn’t in the interest of those pulling the strings.

      • 0 avatar

        Diesel engines nowadays are more expensive so at best it would be some luxury choice here in the states kinda like electrics.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          25% of your crude oil cut goes to heating oil for industrial/commerical purposes. This doesn’t take into account diesel for transport which accounts for (I think) another 12%.

          The US is encountering a huge gas ‘rush’. It would be feasible to use gas for heating and crude for transport.

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