It's pretty obvious at this point that Cerberus doesn't want to keep Chrysler, and turbulent economic realities have scuttled what few available prospects there would have been for new ownership. Some have openly wondered whether team Pentastar is even working on new products at all. Product development VP Frank Klegon insists that new Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models are on their way, and he points to the next 300/Charger as proof.

Klegon told Automotive News at the LA Auto Show that the 2011 redesign of these two large, rear-wheel-drive sedans will beat projected 2011 CAFE standards. That feat will be accomplished with improvements to aerodynamics, axle ratios and upgraded engines. Klegon mentioned that the upcoming Phoenix engines, the development of which has not been cancelled, would motivate the Charger and 300. The new Phoenix family of V6 engines will have variable valve timing, cylinder deactivation and direct injection among its many efficiency increasing technologies. Automotive News also mentioned that Chrysler may employ an eight-speed automatic transmission to further improve performance and fuel economy. We don't know of any Chrysler transmission projects that are this ambitious, and Daimler currently utilizes only seven cogs in its Mercedes lineup, but suppliers like Aisin and ZF already have 8 speeds on the market.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]

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