While this is later than previously expected, the good news is that the 2013 model year for the Grand Cherokee will reportedly be shortened to make way for the arrival of the 2014 model as early as January of next year.
The delay will also allow for the addition of a ZF eight-speed automatic, which Jeep has also confirmed is in the pipeline for the Grand Cherokee and slated for production in the U.S.
The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee, meanwhile, will continue with V-6 and V-8 gasoline engines and a five-speed automatic that has been on the model since launch.
The latest information was reported by Automotive News (subscription required), citing an internal source at Chrysler. The source is said to have also revealed that the diesel engine pegged for the Grand Cherokee will be the same 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel already available on versions of the SUV sold in Europe.
Built by Italian firm VM Motori and developed together with Fiat, the 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel produces a peak output of 241 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, and with a five-speed auto returns a mileage rating of 23 mpg city and 33 mpg highway in the Jeep. With the new eight-speed auto the fuel economy numbers should improve further. When fitted to a Chrysler 300 equipped with a V-6, the eight-speeder results in mileage improvements of 18-19 mpg city, and from 27-31 mpg highway.