Chrysler figures improved fuel economy will drive growth

Chrysler claims to be on track to sell 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. in 2011. However, key vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Fiat 500 are in short supply and, of the 170 U.S. dealers granted franchises to peddle Fiat vehicles, fewer than 50 are currently operational. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Fiat SpA, gave investors the following understatement: "Officially, we are behind schedule."

Though it has to play catch up, Chrysler hopes to set its vehicles apart by equipping some of the rear-wheel drive models with eight-speed automatic transmissions later this year and a handful of its front- and all-wheel-drive models with nine-speed auto trannies by 2013. These changes, says Chrysler, will improve fuel economy by up to 12 percent.

In addition, Fiat engines will end up between the fenders of many Chrysler models by the end of 2014, improving the average fuel efficiency of Chrysler's entire lineup by a whopping 25 percent, according to the Detroit News. Chrysler hopes that by bumping up fuel economy, its models will be in demand. Speaking of being behind schedule...

[Source: Detroit News]

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