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May 2012 Power Bits Diesel Industry News

All The Torque That’s Fit To Twist

Text By Tori Tellem

New Model: Laramie Limited
Are you still one of those people who assumes the words pickup and luxury can’t go hand in hand? Get over it. And to help further convince you to do so, Ram is introducing the top-o’-the-line Laramie Limited. We still aren’t sure why Chrysler brands go with the label of Limited, because it sure seems those branded with it are anything but. This truck will include full-leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, as-expected chrome, 17-inch polished-aluminum rims on the HDs, navigation, backup camera, remote start, and heated seats and steering wheel. The biggest shocker? The Cummins badge will be absent; Ram is going for a clean “street truck” look. Those are Chrysler’s words, not ours. You can rectify that mistake by ordering your own Cummins badge at the dealership—PN: 55078116AA.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel a Go
Look to 2013 as the year of the Grand…Grand Cherokee diesel, that is. The VM Motori arm of Fiat will produce the 3.0L diesel V-6. The Mercedes 3.0L V-6 used in the last diesel Grand Cherokee is history, so take from that what you will. The Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit will add a third shift in 2013 to meet the demand for the new Grand. Key word: demand.

Audi Adds a Diesel Model
The ’13 Audi A8 will soon see a coveted option: a 3.0L V-6 TDI engine. It’s to allow the A8 lineup to have two six-bangers with awesome fuel economy (it joins the 3.0L supercharged gas engine).,br clear=all>

Rumor of the Moment:
First the Chevy Cruze, and now the Cadillac ATS is getting a diesel engine.

“People responded with tweets, they responded on our Facebook page, and they emotionally got behind diesel. Had we said, ‘Audi’s launching diesel and it’s going to cost $45,000,’ there would be nothing to respond to.”
—Scott Keogh, chief marketing officer of Audi of America, from Automotive News

Fiat Diesel Engines for Suzuki
Reuters reports that Fiat will be providing 100,000 additional 75hp 1.3L MultiJet diesel engines to Suzuki’s Indian branch to meet the crazy demand in the Indian car market. If you’re playing along at home, yes, it’s the same engine Fiat gives to GM in Europe.

VW Amarok Wins Weird Award
It’s the pickup we can taste so badly it hurts our innards, yet it’s still not available in North America: the VW Amarok. Anyway…we’re normally not big on promoting other outlets’ awards, but this one was so strange yet cool, we had to mention it: Zoo Magazine named the pickup “Manliest Motor” as part of its ’11 Motoring Awards. We dig just about anything prefaced with “manliest.”

Daimler and Nissan Coupling to Make Engines for North America
Try to keep up here, will ya? Ready? We’re going to rip this straight from the official announcement because it would make our head spin to attempt to recap it: “Nissan and Daimler will produce Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder gasoline engines together at Nissan’s powertrain assembly plant in Decherd, Tennessee...The Decherd facility will produce engines for Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti models.” The alliance includes four-cylinder diesel engines for the long-rumored, jointly developed, light-commercial vehicle as well as in M-B cars. Daimler will give Nissan and Infiniti four- and six-cylinder diesel engines from the current and future engine family and also auto transmissions.

Detroit Diesel Hits Production Milestone
The Detroit Diesel assembly line was abuzz at the end of 2011, as the 100,000th DD-platform engine was birthed. The heavy-duty mills were developed with Daimler Trucks in Germany, Japan, and the United States and have 90 percent globally shared parts. The DD line began in 2007 in the same plant that built two-stroke diesels for WWII.

German Badging in the United States
The German Association of the Automotive Industry has some interesting news about diesel sales in the United States. That’s because it represents German manufacturers, so U.S. info matters. For example, 2011 sales of diesel passenger cars jumped by 34 percent. Sure, Western Europe can brag that half the new cars registered are diesel, but still. Also, 1⁄3 of the diesel-equipped light vehicles in the U.S. that are freshly registered sport German badging.

Chrysler’s World-Class Manufacturing Academy
The new Chrysler World Class Manufacturing Academy in Warren, Michigan, sounds like some kind of training facility (even with the sorta geeky “World Class” part, which we’ll happily embrace as WCM), and guess what? It is indeed a training facility. It takes up about 25,000 square feet in the UAW-Chrysler Technology Training Center and will allow employees in Chrysler Group manufacturing operations to learn WCM methods and tools. Course material is to be created internally, with the goal of the training to be focused on speaking to specific needs within the manufacturing facilities. This will include various labs, such as safety (3D goggles and a plant setting full of hazards? Chrysler, consider a video game version, seriously), as well as a human motion picture capture area that utilizes the same stuff that creates video games (Chrysler, again, seriously, you’re halfway to executing our idea) to see how someone performs a particular job and how steps can be reduced.

“I do think we’ve kind of gotten over that.” —GM Chair and CEO Dan Akerson, according to The Detroit Bureau. He said it during an appearance before the Detroit Economic Club and was referring to the GM bailout and how Americans seem to have moved on from negative thoughts about that.

Neste Oil Diesel Refinery Officially Opens
The grand opening of Europe’s largest renewable diesel refinery in Rotterdam has happened, so you can mark that off your curiosity list. Neste Oil said it is set to produce the cleanest and highest-quality renewable diesel on the market. Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch deputy prime minister and minister for economic affairs, agriculture, and innovation, noted, “This refinery represents a huge investment in our economy and provides a boost to sustainable growth. It will help the Netherlands realize its ambitions as a leader of the bio-based economy and a major biomass hub in Europe.”

How Old Is Your Truck?
Polk research has revealed that the average age of cars and trucks currently in use in the United States is 10.8 years—that’s a record high. While passenger cars had a slight increase since 2010 (11 years to 11.1 years), it was pickups and SUVs that went from 10.1 years to 10.4 years. Is this like saying the average number of kids in a family is 2.5? We never understand the half-kid.

Diesel Bits
Diesel sales increased by more than 27 percent in the United States in 2011, according to The Detroit Bureau.

Jeep has revealed a concept Grand Cherokee that it definitely plans to put into production. Its model name will be announced at a later date, but said name will be based on consumer suggestions that were then put into the hands of online voters. Nothing could go wrong with that plan—especially if the win is food themed.

VW said that by 2018, it intends to reduce the environmental impact of all its plants by 25 percent, notably in the energy consumption, airborne emission, and water consumption departments.

108 million gallons of biomass-based diesel fuel were sold in November 2011? That’s a lotta gallons. The EPA thought so, too, and mentioned it in its yearly report.

In 2011, Volvo Trucks hit a record market share in North America.

By Tori Tellem
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