Chrysler dropping the ‘Hemi’ name, trying to build a new identity

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

If you've recently entered a Chrysler dealership, you might have been able to notice that instead of referring to its engines as a Hemi, they are now calling it as V-8s.

That's because Fiat has instructed Chrysler dealers about the name change since it aims to refine Chrysler's image for it to be perceived as a more fuel-efficient carmaker.

The carmaker aims to emphasize the efficiency of its new 3.6-liter Pentastar powerplant, which can raise fuel economy by 25% compared to the previous V-6 engines, which made their debut in the new-for-2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Four-cylinder offerings will be promoted by dealerships as a way to help to introduce the new Fiat 500 that is set to launch later this year.

However, the engine will still be marketed as a Hemi in Ram trucks and certain Dodge cars. While certain Jeep models and the Chrysler 300 will still be offered with the powerplant, salespeople will be instructed to refer to them as 5.7-liter V-8 engines.

In addition, dealership visitors will be told about the engine's ability to deactivate cylinders while cruising on the highway. In the past several years, the Hemi engine was considered as the cornerstone engine in Chrysler's product portfolio.

The use of this powerplant was accompanied by many advertising campaigns centered around it, cementing this name into the conscience of the American public. But the Hemi's popularity fell since two summers ago when the price of gas rose above $4 per gallon. As a result, consumers started to look for vehicles that have better fuel economy.

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