Chrysler to boost fuel economy using Fiat technology

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 9, 2011

The alliance of Chrysler and Fiat will bring a huge dose of Fiat's fuel-saving technology into the gas-guzzling lineup of Chrysler in order to hit CEO Sergio Marchionne’s target set in 2009 of boosting fuel economy by 25 percent from 2010 to 2014. With Fiat’s aid, Chrysler is shifting from the six- and eight-cylinder engines to more four-cylinder powerplants.

Chrysler previously said in its 2009 product plan that by year 2014, 38 percent of its engines would have four cylinders, an increase from 19 percent in 2010.

The strategy of Chrysler is to use a suite of systems in order to improve fuel economy and performance. Among these systems include MultiAir from Fiat that varies valve timing for each cylinder independently, eight- and nine-speed transmissions as well as a dual-clutch transmission.

MultiAir is designed to boost torque and power 10 percent while reducing emissions and fuel consumption up to 10 percent by regulating intake valves for each cylinder independently. The only vehicle built by Chrysler that has MultiAir is the 2012 Fiat 500.

However, more models will have it beginning 2012 with a Dodge compact sedan that would replace the Caliber. In 2013, MultiAir will be included on the Pentastar V-6 engine. As for the eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions, Chrysler is licensing technology from Germany-based supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG to build two advanced transmissions.

The eight-speed, also known as the 8HP, is for longitudinally mounted engines in rear-wheel-drive cars. Marchionne told reporters last July 27 that a Chrysler 300 with the transmission will obtain 31 mpg highway.

The 8HP will be manufactured in North America, specifically in Chrysler's Kokomo transmission plant in Indiana in 2012, and a new ZF plant in Greenville, South Carolina in 2013.

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