DETROIT -- Mercedes-Benz may be the first automaker to reveal an aggressive North American strategy for diesel engines, but it probably won't be the last.
More fuel-saving diesel engines are expected to be introduced starting around 2007. That's because low-sulfur diesel fuel - with 15 parts per million of sulfur instead of the current 500 ppm - will become available nationwide in the fall of 2006. The change will help diesels meet stricter emissions standards.
Here's the diesel outlook for several automakers: BMW: The X5 SUV will get a diesel in the 2007 model year. Chrysler group: A new diesel-powered version of the Jeep Liberty is selling above expectations. DaimlerChrysler is considering diesels for the Chrysler 300 sedan and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Ford Motor Co.: Ford has formed a North American diesel team that is integrating diesels into cars and trucks. The Ford F-150 pickup and Focus sedan are candidates for a diesel. General Motors: Charles Freese, GM's head of diesel engineering, says light trucks and SUVs will be the focus of the company's diesel efforts. Meanwhile, GM is limited in the number of Duramax V-8 truck diesels it can build at its capacity-constrained Moraine, Ohio, engine plant. GM could source smaller displacement diesels from Europe. Honda: A diesel Accord is being considered for North America. Nissan: The Titan pickup is a strong candidate for a diesel, either from a U.S. engine source, such as International Truck and Engine Corp., or from Japan. Toyota: The Tundra pickup is considered a likely candidate for a diesel. Toyota's diesel plans should be clearer once production starts at its San Antonio truck plant next spring.
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