Chrysler’s Strategy: A Single, All-Aluminum V-6 Design?

Exec says GEMA project is a successful example

August 10, 2006 -- Chrysler Group’s chief operating officer revealed that the automaker is studying the possibility of adopting a new family of V-6 engines based on a single V-6 architecture: all aluminum, dual-overhead cam, and four valves per cylinder.

Presently, Chrysler has four engine families being produced at three different sites in the U.S., and adopting a new engine architecture would mean significant investment projects for those sites.

COO Eric Ridenour — speaking at the annual Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, MI — said his organization is in the process of developing a comprehensive new powertrain strategy that will apply technology and processes developed through its Global Engine Manufacturing Alliiance project, a joint-venture of DaimlerChrysler AG, Hyundai Motor Co., and Mitsubishi Motors Co. Its GEMA manufacturing plant started operation last year in Dundee, MI, and produces a line of four-cylinder engines that are meant to be a common power source for vehicles built around the world by all three automakers.

GEMA’s success at standardizing its four-cylinder engine platform is the template for Chrysler’s plans for six-cylinder units. Ridenour stated: "With GEMA, we were able to apply economies of scale to component and machine tool purchases to generate big savings that we were then able to invest back into the World Engine -- allowing us to add features that improve performance, refinement, durability, and affordability."

Ridenour also stated the group’s planning also is looking for ways to improve fuel economy and incorporate alternative fuel choices.

But, Ridenour stressed that Chrysler is "firmly committed to being competitive in all vehicle segments. We believe we have a sound strategy in place, the right products in the pipeline and the right people guiding our business to ensure we're prepared for the coming challenges."

He further emphasized that Chrysler intends to compete in multiple powertrain technologies. "We know that each has its merits. That's why we believe in a combination of biofuels, diesels, hybrids, fuel cells and advance gasoline technologies. No one technology will win the day. Bottom line is consumers want choice.

"Our customers will ultimately decide the technologies they want and need to power their vehicles -- now and in the future. And DaimlerChrysler will be standing at the ready with all the options available to meet their needs," Ridenour concluded.

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