Fiat has the highly regarded Multijet diesel engine among its offerings, and Volkswagen has been spending massive amounts of moolah to soften American hearts toward diesels. Yet in spite of those two factoids, at a recent symposium in Michigan Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne championed compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel he'd like to see take a notable place among the panoply of domestic options.
Last year when Fiat presented its five-year plan, the senior VP of powertrain, Paolo Ferrero, mentioned diesels, hybrids and electric cars as intentions beyond the direct-injected and turbocharged ICE. Earlier this year an electric Fiat 500 was announced for 2012. But the push has apparently already begun to integrate compressed and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vehicles. Fiat's already has the experience and hardware in South America, where its tetrafuel engines run on four different fuels.
Marchionne didn't offer any kind of timetable for the arrival of CNG, saying only that it "is the most effective solution, in terms of costs and timing, to lessen this country's reliance on oil" as well as making it clear that it could be a quicker way for Chrysler to get seriously green. He did admit, though, that the infrastructure is nowhere close to making it viable. We will admit that the idea of an Alfa Giulietta that runs on LPG is an enticing thought. But we'd be even more enticed if Fiat could get even one Giulietta here for retail sale that runs on... well, anything.