Chrysler to rely on hybrids to comply with US fuel economy rules

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 15, 2014

Chrysler Group will rely more on hybrid vehicles to be able to comply with United States government’s rules that require cars and light trucks to average 54.5 mpg by the 2025 model year, according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive Sergio Marchionne. Chrysler ranked last among major carmakers in the US in terms of fuel economy in 2013.

Marchionne said the US carmaker is on pace, internally, to comply long-term with the government’s latest fuel economy requirements. Marchionne was at Tipton, Indiana where Chrysler dedicated a $162-million transmission plant to produce a nine-speed automatic transmission for its future front-wheel-drive vehicles.

The nine-speed automatic transmission will allow the redesigned 2015 Chrysler 200 sedan to achieve up to 36 mpg on the highway. Marchionne expressed confidence remarked that the “house will make it” to the 2025 model year fuel economy targets.

Marchionne also added that to reach the target, the carmaker will depend largely on hybrids become a very large component of that fleet.

Since 2009, Chrysler Group has been trimming its lineup of engines and transmissions from what the CEO dubbed as “a collection of mutts” to a set of standardized powertrains that can be shared among different models.

Chrysler is currently using an eight-speed transmission for its rear-wheel-drive light vehicles, and is making its front-wheel-drive units shift to the nine-speed automatic. The 9-speed transmission is licensed from ZF Friedrichshafen and built in Tipton, at the carmaker’s transmission complex in Kokomo, Ind.

The 2015 Chrysler 200 is the second Chrysler Group vehicle to use the fuel efficient nine-speed transmission. Chrysler acquired the 782,000-sq-ft Tipton site in February 2013 to expand production of the nine-speed transmission.

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