Over the next five to ten years Chrysler is predicting that diesels will reach a 10-15 percent share of the US market and hybrids will reach a similar penetration rate. Klegon also gave the assembled group a preview of what's coming as part of Chrysler's powertrain offensive in the next few years - now that the ownership question is settled they are moving full speed ahead.
The new aluminum block Phoenix V-6 engine family will get a six to eight percent improvement in fuel economy thanks to cylinder deactivation and dual variable valve timing. Further efficiency improvements will come thanks the new dual clutch gearboxes that will be mated to the new engines.
You can read about Chrysler's diesel and hybrid plans after the jump.
The Phoenix V-6 is just one step on the powertrain upgrade path. The new global 2.4L four cylinder that Chrysler is using in all the new small and mid-sized vehicles is selling better than expected with seventy-three percent of Sebring buyers opting for the four instead of the six cylinder options. In the future this engine will be upgraded with direct fuel injection to enhance power and efficiency.
The 4.7L V-8 that's available in all the trucks just got a major redesign this year for more power and better efficiency. The more popular 5.7L Hemi will be getting similar upgrades in 2009, again enhancing power and efficiency.
Looking forward, Chrysler is planning to continue working with Mercedes Benz for more diesel applications. Chrysler is also partnering with Next Energy, Bosch and Michigan State University to establish biodiesel fuel standards. The standards that are expected by the end of the year will ensure that all B20 blends meet a minimum standard that car makers can test to ensure their engines work reliably. Another aspect of the partnership will be developing brownfield sites to grow crops for biodiesel production starting with sites in Detroit and at the Chelsea Proving Ground.
In the coming years we can expect to see Chrysler vehicles with the 3.0L V-6 used in the new Grand Cherokee as well as the new Mercedes 2.2L four cylinder. The V-6 will also get an emissions upgrade for 2009 to make it fifty-state legal. Also joining the fleet for 2009 will be a new fifty-state legal light duty Cummins diesel engine to compete with the similar engines from Ford and GM.
On the hybrid front, Chrysler will be announcing additional applications of both the new Two-Mode hybrid system as well as lower cost mild hybrid systems although Klegon wouldn't give details yet.