Chrysler: The Powertrain Plans

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

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.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • AdamYYZ AdamYYZ on Nov 07, 2009

    I've been working on this engine's water pump/front engine cover assembly. Production is about to begin on it shortly. For what its worth, Chrysler have been watching over us closely and have very high expectations for quality control. Tolerances are held very tight. Probably good signs for the future. I can't help but wish them well since the Chrysler job kept me employed during the recessions darkest days.

  • SV SV on Nov 10, 2009

    The Phoenix looks very promising, too bad there aren't any decent cars to put it in yet (bar the new Grand Cherokee and, possibly, the new Charger/300) My feeling with the differences between Hyundai and Chrysler 2.4 engines is that they're more to do with how the engines are installed in the car (better mounts, more insulation in the Sonata maybe?) than the engines themselves but I probably don't really know what I'm talking about.

  • JOHN One is for sale on an ebay car donation site.
  • Scott So they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars and they are promising us a “Cheaper EV”? I wonder how that will look and feel? They killed the Fiesta because they claimed that they couldn’t make a profit on them and when I bought the first one in late 2010 they couldn’t deliver the accessories I wanted for it! Then I bought a 2016 Fiesta ST and again couldn’t get the accessories for it I wanted. They claimed that the components were going to be available, eventually. So they lost on that one as well! I don’t care about what they say anymore. I’ve moved on to another brand.
  • Michael S6 CX 70 or 90 will not be on my buying list. Drove a rental base CX 90 and it was noisy and the engine noise was not pleasant. Ride was rough for a family SUV. Mazda has to understand that what is good for Miata isn't what we expect in semi luxury SUV. My wife's 2012 Buick Enclave has much better Ride and noise level albeit at worse gas millage. Had difficulty pairing my phone with Apple CarPlay
  • Michael S6 What is the metric conversion between one million barrels and the number of votes he expects to buy.
  • NJRide This could give Infiniti dealers an extra product maybe make it a sub brand