Casting a wide net in its bid to satisfy growing demand for more fuel-efficient engines and drivetrains, Chrysler Group is increasing the reach of its diesel and hybrid technologies.

The auto maker says it will, “in the next few years,” offer a mild hybrid powertrain in one of its vehicles, while also promising to expand availability of its “two-mode” full hybrid system, scheduled to debut next year on the '08 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs.

In addition, the '09 Jeep Grand Cherokee will feature Bluetec diesel technology.

Developed by Mercedes-Benz, Bluetec is distinguished by its 4-valve design; centrally located piezo-electric injectors; third-generation CDI direct injection; variable nozzle turbocharger turbine and exhaust gas recirculation.

The '07 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickups, which went on sale in March, are the first Chrysler vehicles to feature Bluetec.

Chrysler also announces plans to:

  • Explore development” of a 4-cyl. diesel engine for the North American market.

  • Feature its Multi-Displacement System (MDS) on its new Phoenix family of V-6 engines.

  • Upgrade its 5.7L Hemi and 4.7L V-8 engines.