Chrysler to get MPG boost from Fiat technologies, ZF 8- and 9-speed transmisions

In the coming years, Chrysler will add a megadose of Fiat's fuel-saving technology to tame its gas-guzzling lineup of vehicles. The goal: Hit the target that the Fiat-Chrysler chief executive officer, Sergio Marchionne, set: increasing fuel economy 25 percent by 2014.

Chrysler will take a multi-pronged approach to reach this goal. With assistance from Fiat, Chrysler will shift from six- and eight-cylinder engines to more four-cylinder units and employ Fiat's award-winning MultiAir technology if possible. Aside from downsized engines and MultiAir, Chrysler will license transmission technology from ZF to replace some of the automaker's existing slushboxes. Eight- and nine-speeds transmissions are in the works, with the former showing up in rear-wheel-drive vehicles and the later in front-wheel-drive vehicles.

Additionally, Chrysler will offer more direct-injected turbocharged engines, debut a dual-clutch transmission in 2012 and, of course, launch the electric Fiat 500 in 2012. Chrysler says this lengthy list of changes is exactly what's needed, and we only have to wait three years to find out if it's right.

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