Chrysler Group intends to manufacture a 3.2-liter variant of its 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, possibly at a Detroit facility, a union official and an insider have disclosed. The smaller Pentastar powerplant will be launched in the upcoming replacement for the Jeep Liberty, according to a union official. Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, has stated that the Liberty successor will be launched at the Detroit motor show in January.
Bruce Baumhower, who is the president of UAW Local 12 in Toledo, Ohio, revealed that the Liberty replacement is expected to be equipped with a 3.2-liter V-6 Pentastar and a nine-speed transmission. ZF Friedrichshafen AG developed the transmission. It also supplies the eight-speed transmission for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans.
Baumhower disclosed the information to Automotive News as well as to Toledo TV station WTVG this week. His information was verified by another source familiar with the project. On the other hand, a spokesperson for Chrysler stated that the automaker would not talk about future product or production plans.
A $500 million renovation has started at the Toledo North Assembly facility in order to assemble the Liberty successor. The factory will close in early August for more than five months in order to retool for the new SUV, Baumhower explained. The automaker is aiming to enhance its corporate average fuel economy, in part with new transmissions.
Marchionne commented at the Geneva auto show this month that one should not underestimate the weight of transmissions in order to improve fuel efficiency. He added that if they had known the eight-speed automatic transmission was coming, they would have developed a 3.2-liter Pentastar powerplant instead of the current 3.6-liter variant.
Last year, Chrysler has been removing equipment and tooling from the Trenton North Engine facility in suburban Detroit, a Trenton city official has disclosed. Around 80% of the 2.1-million-square-foot factory is vacant, with the remaining area utilized to manufacture engine components for the 3.6-liter Pentastar.