Production has begun for Chrysler Group's new Pentastar V-6 engine at the new $364 million Trenton South Engine Plant near Detroit. About two years from now, Chrysler expects to already have phased in the new engine and replaced the seven V-6 engines.
The first vehicle to get the engine is the redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which will start production in the second quarter.
Paolo Ferrero, Chrysler senior vice president of powertrain, said that the 3.6-liter Pentastar, when under the hood of the Grand Cherokee, will deliver 290 hp.
The Pentastar is also about 20% lighter than the current V-6 powering the Grand Cherokee. By 2014, about 40% of all Chrysler engines would be Pentastars, which will contribute much to Chrysler's aim of improving fuel economy by 25% by then.
Ferrero added that the Pentastar will be used on a wide range of vehicles. Another advantage that this engine has is that it can accommodate turbochargers and Fiat's fuel-saving MultiAir injection system, which will soon be brought to North America.
Eventually, the Pentastar will appear in Fiat cars. Dan Knott, Chrysler head of purchasing, said that annual output would reach 900,000.
This amount provides Chrysler with huge economies of scale compared to the existing V-6s, most of which account for about 100,000 units a year. It's interesting to note that the Pentastar engine has 26 major components, compared with a total of 174 for the seven outgoing engine families.