You have to wonder how much touting the use of Mercedes-Benz technology will help sell Jeeps, Chryslers and Dodges.
Starting in January, the Jeep Grand Cherokee will be available with a 3.0-liter common-rail turbodiesel. That's significant because it makes the Grand Cherokee the first full-sized SUV with a diesel and because Chrysler officials are openly talking about using Mercedes technology.
And why not? BlueTec diesel technology is a big deal, and engines are a very identifiable part of a brand's DNA.
When Daimler acquired Chrysler, some Mercedes-Benz big shots in Stuttgart were adamant that there would be no comingling of components. But that changed.
And it had to, because letting Chrysler dig through the Mercedes parts bin is one of the obvious benefits of the DaimlerChrysler relationship ... even if Auburn Hills seldom gets technology when it's brand-new.
The biggest example of sharing is the Chrysler Crossfire, which is essentially a re-worked version of the previous-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK.
DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche says the Chrysler group isn't likely to get an entire Mercedes platform again, though sharing technology and components will continue.
After all, the rear-drive Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Magnum are quite successful, and they use extensive technology from the previous-generation E class.
About 20 percent of their components come from the Mercedes side of the house, including the design for the independent rear suspension, front-seat frame, steering column, cruise-control stalk and, on Hemi models, the five-speed automatic transmission, rear axle and differential.
Yet you never hear Chrysler execs touting those hand-me-down features.
Maybe they figure it's no big deal because sister divisions routinely share their sweaters and sometimes even their party dresses.
Or it might be because Mercedes is still trying to overcome an image of shabby quality and the guys in Auburn Hills don't want to scar the Chrysler or Dodge brands.
Aren't families great?
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]