Tuesday, January 23, 2007

1:10 p.m.

DaimlerChrysler AG said today it would be the first automaker to market with a diesel heavy-duty pickup truck capable of meeting strict 2010 emissions standards in all 50 states.

At the Washington Auto Show, the automaker presented the 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty trucks, with a 6.7-liter turbo-diesel engine. It would be significantly cleaner than those of its competitors, using traps and filters to nearly eliminate emissions from particulate matter and slash nitrogen oxides.

“When you think of the Dodge Ram heavy-duty pickup truck, you usually think of power, lots of torque and the ability to carry a big payload,” said Tom LaSorda, chief executive of DaimlerChrysler’s Chrysler Group.

Mr. LaSorda said the vehicle would be “the cleanest pickup truck in the marketplace.”

DaimlerChrysler has outlined plans during the next four years to bring at least four vehicles to market with its clean-burning diesel technology, called “Bluetec.” The technology uses filters and traps to reduce soot and nitrogen oxide emissions.

The government has been instituting tighter emissions standards for diesel engines and has required new ultralow sulfur diesel fuel in the marketplace. The fuel and clean diesel technology work in tandem to reduce emissions.

In 2010, diesel engines will be required to emit about 90 percent less nitrogen oxide, building upon upgraded standards in recent years.

The segment is expected to grow. J.D. Power and Associates projects diesels to climb from 3.6 percent of the U.S. market to about 9 percent by 2013.

The Dodge Ram will be the first Chrysler Group vehicle with Bluetec, using an engine developed by Indiana truck maker Cummins Inc. Diesel engines provide about a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with conventional gasoline engines.

Mr. LaSorda also introduced a new clean diesel engine for Dodge Ram 1500 pickup trucks after 2009. The engine, also developed by Cummins, would provide a 30 percent boost in fuel economy and a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared with equivalent gasoline engines.

Chrysler offers diesels in its Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee models, with the Dodge Ram pickup and Sprinter van. Mercedes-Benz started selling an E-320 Bluetec sedan in the U.S. and Canada in the fall.

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