Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to replace its four-cylinder engine lineup with a new family of powerplants sharing technologies and parts and can be customized at lower costs for individual markets, according to powertrain chief Bob Lee. The move is part of Fiat Chrysler’s bid to comply with stricter global fuel economy and emissions standards.
Lee remarked that Fiat Chrysler produces 40 types of four-cylinder engines, many of which don’t share technology or parts and were acquired through business ventures. The plans will mirror a similar move around four years ago when Chrysler started phasing out seven families of V-6 engines and replacing them with the Pentastar V-6, which shares technologies and parts.
According to Lee, the new family of four-cylinder engines will share technologies and parts to allow them to be customized to individual markets faster and cheaper. The shared parts will include pistons, fuel injectors and combustion chamber designs.
The US-Italian group also plans to roll out gasoline-electric hybrids, including a plug-in minivan, to make its eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions more available. The carmaker also plans to offer more diesel engines to North America.
Lee disclosed that Fiat Chrysler will introduce a gasoline-electric version of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan in 2016 and is working on a belt-alternator stop-start system.
He said that the powertrain changes are driven by stricter fuel economy standards in the US and more stringent carbon dioxide emission regulations in the country and in Europe.
He added that changes are also driven by customers’ demands for improved fuel efficiency. Lee remarked that Fiat Chrysler will employ fuel-saving technologies that provide “the best bang for the buck” and that will appeal to consumers. [source: automotive news - sub. required]