New 54.5 mpg rule will kill V8 engines, says Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 3, 2012

The 54.5 mpg rule of the Obama administration will make a significant difference in what’s to become of the auto industry, according to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne. He added that muscle cars such as the Hemi-powered DodgeChallenger will be “as rare as white flies.” However, it should be noted that so many have made predictions such as these ever since the US government first implemented an order about a car’s mpg in 1978.

Nevertheless, the V8 is still around and is doing better than ever. A factor that should be considered is the rising prices of gas and new vehicles. So owning a V8-equipped car for its performance prowess will be a very expensive move.

For each passing year, engine size is becoming less important as automakers make use of forced induction and direct injection to achieve more power from smaller equipment. Hybrid drivetrains are finally being used by performance cars that will eventually result to a shift in the common perception that hybrid cars have to be boring. However, fuel savings could come from numerous sources, more than that of downsized engines.

For instance, Lotus was recently commissioned to re-engineer a Toyota Venza to be comprised of far fewer parts. As a result, the car will be lighter and more fuel efficient. The British sports car maker was able to reduce its curb weight by 37%, boosting the car’s mileage by 23%.

It’s likely that this won’t be as good a fit to V8 performance cars that depend on body stiffening parts and lots of additional features for higher speed. However, BMW is now developing alternatives to make its cars lighter. It seeks to reduce the cost of building carbon fiber pieces by hastening the process required to manufacture every part.

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