One of Chrysler’s major problems in the powertrain department is a mass of V6 engines of varying ages and displacements. The lack of interchangeability between engines contributes to Chrysler’s unprofitability, and the advanced age of some hurts overall fuel efficiency considerably. The debut of a brand-new Pentastar V6, arriving with next year’s Grand Cherokee, will change all that. The 280 hp, 260 lb-ft engine will replace all of Chrysler’s V6s, and handily gives Fiat their only modern V6. Single and twin-turbo versions are being considered. Meanwhile V8s aren’t going away, with 5.7 and 6.4 liter versions planned.
The World Engines of 1.8, 2.0 and 2.4 liter displacement will continue, also providing Fiat with a lower-cost alternative to its more advanced but more expensive engines. Fiat does plan on introducing its Multiair technology as well as direct injection to the workhorse World Engine family, although no time frame has been given for such a development.
Fiat will provide its Multiair 1.4 liter “Fire” engine, although the only known application is the 500. A turbocharged 1.4 will arrive in 2011 with the 500 Abarth, and potentially thereafter in Fiat-based Dodge and Chrysler B-segment (Yaris/Fit) hatchbacks, planned for 2012. The Fire family is unlikely to be used outside of the B-segment for the simple reason that in non-turbocharged form, the engine produces only 100 hp and 92 lb-ft. Fiat’s JTD diesel engines in 1.6 to 2.0 displacement are mentioned in the presentation, but they seem unlikely candidates for powering Wrangler, the only vehicle confirmed with a diesel option. Dual clutch transmissions will debut with the refreshed Sebring in Q4 2010.
By far the biggest question surrounding Chrysler’s powertrain plans is in regards to electrification and hybrids. Fiat brings little to no expertise to the table in this area, and Chrysler’s ENVI vaporware wasn’t mentioned once in the whole 7 hour presentation. Marchionne dismissed the idea of consumer-market hybrids or EV’s in the short term, calling electrical storage technology “unready.” Only a Fiat Doblo-based commercial EV is on the radar. If Chrysler ever gets past its short-term issues, it hopes to have improved its fleet efficiency by 2014 through proliferation of Fiat’s technology and the use of more four-cylinder engines. If they begin thinking about an IPO though, look for talk of futuretech to come back around again, as investors will want more long-term upside than is currently on offer.