Chrysler to build its first Fiat-derived four-cylinder engine in Michigan

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 26, 2010

The first Fiat-derived four-cylinder engine for North America will be built by Chrysler Group at a Michigan factory, according to plans announced by CEO Sergio Marchionne for Fiat's 1.4-liter fully integrated robotized engine or FIRE.

Initially, the engine will be used to power the Fiat 500 minicar to be made in Mexico. It will go on sale in select Chrysler showrooms in the US late next year.

Chrysler is set to use up to $179 million to start producing the engine at its Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance plant in Dundee. Production will start with one shift in the fourth quarter of 2010 and is expected to have an annual capacity of 100,000 engines.

The completed engines will then be shipped to Chrysler's factory in Saltillo, Mexico, where the Fiat 500 will be assembled.

Marchionne revealed that half of the 500s will return to the US while the other half will be sold in Latin America (including Mexico and Brazil). The project is expected to create 573 new jobs, including 155 at the plant. Chrysler is currently exploring other applications for the engine.

One of its plans is for a 175 hp turbocharged version. The basic engine is capable of generating 100 hp at 6,750 rpm and 95 lbs-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm.

Fiat's multi-air technology, which is featured on the engine, reduces emissions while improving performance and fuel economy. Marchionne revealed that Chrysler internally calls its multiair technology variable valve timing on steroids.

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