Chrysler Commits to Smaller, More Efficient V6

Chrysler Commits to Smaller, More Efficient V6

Speaking at a media event in Detroit today Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed suspicions that there will be more versions of the company’s award-winning Pentastar V6.

Chrysler is “working diligently on other variants of it,” he said at an announcement regarding ramped up V6 production based on improved demand. The Pentastar V6 engine currently displaces 3.6-liters but Marchionne hinted at a smaller, more efficient version. “You’re going to see a downsizing of engines across the fleet,” he said, stopping just short of confirming a 3.2-liter model that is strongly believed to be in development.

But “variants” is plural, so what other six-cylinder projects could the company be working on? Direct fuel injection will certainly be part of the Pentastar line at some point down the road since it’s not at the moment.

Another intriguing option could be an even smaller, turbocharged model a la Ford’s EcoBoost V6. This could be the perfect powerplant for a rear-wheel-drive sporty car like the upcoming SRT Barracuda. It could also service the needs of truck buyers as a much more economical replacement for a V8.

Of course all of this meshes nicely with reports that the next-generation Chrysler 200 is going to be super efficient. With a nine-speed automatic transmission on board the sedan is rumored to deliver up to 38 miles per gallon, matching the brand-new Nissan Altima.

The Pentastar V6 is used across many products in Chrysler’s portfolio, from sedans and minivans to crossovers and trucks. The company announced today they’re investing nearly $200 million to produce them at the Mack I Engine Plant in Detroit. Right now they’re manufactured at Chrysler’s facility in Trenton, Mich. and at another factory in Mexico.

These capital investments could be a leading indicator that more versions of the engine are on the way. Different displacement models would likely require different machine tools to manufacture, hence the big-dollar investments.

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