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From Edmunds inside line..


Chrysler Group To Rev Up Push Into Hybrid and Clean-Diesel Technology
Date posted: 06-21-2007


CHELSEA, Michigan — The Chrysler Group, which has been lagging behind competitors in the race for the most fuel-efficient vehicles, on Thursday laid out an ambitious program targeted at getting more diesels and hybrids to market in a hurry.

While vague on some details, the automaker indicated that 2009 will be a critical model year, with the rollout of a Jeep Grand Cherokee Bluetec with a clean-diesel engine and the debut of a "significantly upgraded version of the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, resulting in notable gains in fuel efficiency."

The vague parts of the announcement included the assertion that "within the next few years, Chrysler will offer a mild-hybrid powertrain in a Chrysler Group vehicle." The company also said its two-mode hybrid program will expand beyond the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid and Dodge Durango Hybrid, both of which debut next year. But specifics weren't given on which vehicles will get the two-mode hybrid.

The new Phoenix family of V6 engines will get a multi-displacement system. The engine will operate on three cylinders when less power is needed and in V6 mode when more power is required. The automaker said the system will result in a fuel economy gain of 6-8 percent. A new 4.7-liter V8 will get a 5 percent fuel economy improvement with up to 75 more horses and 35 more pound-feet of torque.

Chrysler Group said it will take the new common-axle technology now featured in the Chrysler 300C SRT-8 and move it to other Chrysler Group vehicles, for gains in fuel economy.

The announcement was significant in that it gave outsiders a penetrating look into Chrysler's future product plans, a tactic that is usually scrupulously avoided by automakers. The Detroit automaker said it is "exploring additional penetration of its 3.0-liter V6 common-rail diesel engine — currently in the 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee — and the possibility of a four-cylinder diesel engine for the North American market."

"We have developed and are implementing a series of major initiatives — including a bigger push in hybrid and clean-diesel technology — to meet the needs of American consumers," said Frank Klegon, Chrysler Group's executive vice president of product development.

What this means to you: Fuel economy is the mantra at Chrysler headquarters these days, which should make you happier at the pump in the coming years.
 

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Does happier at the pump equal just as happy on the road?
 

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Chrysler Group, if you want sales to skyrocket, here is a solution... find out what makes the European Honda Accord diesel engine so efficient.

Build a new, super-clean diesel engine in 4, 6, and 8 cylinder versions using what you learned. Give the option to strap it to either the twin mode hybrid system that will be coming in the Aspen and Durango or to a hydraulic hybrid system like the one the EPA and Ford have tested.

Now, your vehicles will be pushing between 40mpg and 70mpg depending on configuration and vehicle size and you can make that silly little Prius look like a gas guzzler. Make sure you patent everything that you come up with. Then if you really want to be mean go to the government and push for higher CAFE standards to match your new vehicle lineup's fuel economy. That will make your competitors wince in pain.
 

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So to answer the thread question, no better fuel efficiency is not in our future, unless we're willing to take a huge loss and trade in. Imagine how much gasoline we can buy with the depreciation hit we'd have to take....
 

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PolarBZ said:
Does happier at the pump equal just as happy on the road?
I love my Hemi but would be super happy with better mileage.
 

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6%-8% improvement by 09, by then gas prices might be up by the same percentage. I think we won't see any significant improvement in our lifetime.
 

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Yeah, but the government is working this so you know it'll happen soon, especially since their plan is to regulate the market, make gas go to $6/gallon and force us all to drive hybrids or take the bus everywhere.
 

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Just passed the Senate last night, going to the House next. The automakers got screwed by some senators that caved in after supporting the automakers for years. Goodbye power and performance, hello tin cans.
 

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rwmorrisonjr said:
Just passed the Senate last night, going to the House next. The automakers got screwed by some senators that caved in after supporting the automakers for years. Goodbye power and performance, hello tin cans.
Guess I'll be holding on to the Commander with both hands, then. I don't want a 2009 Aries K or a 2010 Datsun B210...

I just had a flashback to 1975 when the Corvette had - what? - 165HP. Can't hardly wait for the new batch of cars after this legislation passes!

Your pal,
Meat.
 

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My plan is to hold on to my gas guzzlers until electric is standard and gas prices fall to under $1 gallon - that'll show 'em.
 

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meat said:
Guess I'll be holding on to the Commander with both hands, then. I don't want a 2009 Aries K or a 2010 Datsun B210...

I just had a flashback to 1975 when the Corvette had - what? - 165HP. Can't hardly wait for the new batch of cars after this legislation passes!

Your pal,
Meat.
It wasn't really fuel economy that caused the cars of the mid and late 70's to have such low horsepower....it was the new emissions systems requirements. Look at the difference in emissions from the 69/70 models to the 75 models.
 

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PolarBZ said:
My plan is to hold on to my gas guzzlers until electric is standard and gas prices fall to under $1 gallon - that'll show 'em.
LOL... that is a good plan. It would be great if the demand dropped enough to lower prices.
 

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rubicontrail.net said:
Chrysler Group, if you want sales to skyrocket, here is a solution... find out what makes the European Honda Accord diesel engine so efficient.
Everyone is still trying to get those engines to pass US emissions. Diesels have their place, but if this was so simple and the be all end all solution why doesnt Honda bring the diesel they allready make over here?
 

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ktek01 said:
Everyone is still trying to get those engines to pass US emissions. Diesels have their place, but if this was so simple and the be all end all solution why doesnt Honda bring the diesel they allready make over here?
Because our diesel isn't the same as the rest of the world's diesel.

Your pal,
Meat.
 

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meat said:
Because our diesel isn't the same as the rest of the world's diesel.

Your pal,
Meat.

I know that, the changeover to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel was just a few months ago but the bigger issue is getting them to pass ever stricter US Emissions. I am sure that if the OEMs thought there was a big enough demand to justify the cost of developing the technology that would allow light duty diesels then they would have been here in droves years ago. They obviously dont, and that is part of the reason they are so slow in coming, and it seems like every time they get close the emissions standards get raised again. Right now they cant even get the OEMs and EPA to agree if adblue (urea injection) should be allowed for emissions control, which is one reason why you still cant get a WK diesel in 5 states. Dodge is supposed to have two light duty diesel engines in the works with Cummins, a V6 & a V8. The V8 is slated for the 1500 Ram, which is under 8500 lbs GVWR and cant have a diesel now because of its weight class. The V6 IIRC is slated for the Durango and possibly other SUVs. They dont expect those engines to be ready until at least 2009. Allpar has pretty good coverage on Mopar engines, a whole page on the Phoenix engines and some information about the new diesels. I have not seen anything yet on a 4cyl diesel coming to the US, but getting rid of MB may open up more possiblities in that area. The Hemi is supposed to get a major update besides going hybrid it will get 3 or 4 valves per cylinder and VVT. The 4.7 is getting 3 valves per cylinder and dual spark plugs like the Hemi, good coverage for that on Allpar as well.
 

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ktek01 said:
I have not seen anything yet on a 4cyl diesel coming to the US
What about the 08 VW TDI? Isn't the Jetta coming back with a 50-state legal 2.0L Bluetec? I seem to remember MBz, Audi and Jetta all teaming up to make a series of engines that are 50-state compliant.

Not that I'm a huge fan of the VW engine, but the old ones work faaaabulously in the Suzuki Samurai...

Your pal,
Meat.
 

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ktek01 said:
Everyone is still trying to get those engines to pass US emissions. Diesels have their place, but if this was so simple and the be all end all solution why doesnt Honda bring the diesel they allready make over here?
Actually Honda will be bringing the next generation of their diesel engine here within the next 18 months. The reason why they haven't brought them here is America has a bad taste in it's mouth about diesel due to poor diesel cars back in the 1980s.
 

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Far as I am concerned the ONLY fuel effecient engine that makes any sense for jeep is the diesel engine. 4 cyl in wrangler thru Commander models wouldnt interest me at all. 6 cyl. minimum. Really bugs me that environmentalists in America cant accept what Europe and the rest of the world accepts. I think Ethanol is going to prove to be a big fraud and I was originally excited about it. Hybrids just dont make any sense to me in a heavy vehicle like the models I mentioned above. john
 

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meat said:
What about the 08 VW TDI? Isn't the Jetta coming back with a 50-state legal 2.0L Bluetec? I seem to remember MBz, Audi and Jetta all teaming up to make a series of engines that are 50-state compliant.

Not that I'm a huge fan of the VW engine, but the old ones work faaaabulously in the Suzuki Samurai...

Your pal,
Meat.
The VW is a perfect example of how tough the new emissions standards are. VW has been a diesel diehard for a long time, but even they got knocked out of the diesel market in the US when the new emissions standards took effect. I dont doubt that they will probably be one of the first to return to 50 state legal, if they have not allready. A lot of different companies are looking to team up to make legal diesels, but I wouldnt hold my breath, developing a new engine takes time. A lot of companies have talked about diesels for years, and years but so far for many its still just talk. I wouldnt do any purchase planning based on any of that talk until someone comes out with an offical release date, even then be prepared for delays in production and a long waiting list until they get up to speed. The poor quality of gas engines in GM cars converted to diesel left a bad taste, but gas has also been a lot cheaper here in the US than overseas. The longer the price stays up or if it goes even higher than you will start seeing a serious effort from OEMs to get them over here. IIRC Diesels actually were not that popular even in Europe until the CRD was introduced, I recall being there in the early 90s and seeing mostly tiny 4 cylinder gas engines.
 
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