The fuel wars are heating up as automakers search for new ways to squeeze more mileage out of their cars. While some might take this chance to preach doom and gloom for future cars, Chrysler–Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t ready to call the Road Warrior just yet.
Some companies are turning to electric vehicles, others to extended-range hybrids. Yet another school of thought is turning to diesel engines to meet mounting expectations for fuel consumption. In the face of what seems like a trembling industry, unsure of what the next revolution will be, Marchionne stands strong.
“I believe in our industry’s ability to find solutions. Even with traditional combustion engines, we have only skimmed the surface of the ability to squeeze out higher fuel efficiency levels, allowing us to extract much more power out of smaller displacements,” Marchionne said during an appearance at the Automotive News World Congress.
For the time being, he is determined that diesel engines will remain reserved for larger cars, like the Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above), which Chrysler will begin assembling in Detroit early next year. Diesel engines, despite their shrinking stigma, are still a minority consideration in the overall U.S. market. We really like some of the small car diesel variants to pop up recently. For example, Mazda will offer a diesel version of their Mazda6 sedan in 2013, as will Chevrolet with the Cruze.
Despite that, Marchionne is hanging onto the gasoline engine and hoping cars like their recently unveiled Dodge Dart will tackle the small car market and capture young consumer imaginations. Critics of his stubborn resolve might want to hold their opinions for now, considering the about face Marchionne championed since 2009, taking Chrysler from near-ruin to respectable territory.
“Fiat and Chrysler come from two different pasts, but they have something very strong in common,” said Marchionne. “Both have been to hell and back.”
GALLERY: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
[Source: The Detroit Bureau]