Newly mandated EPA auto-range mandates calling for an average of up to 55 MPG by 2025, have forced Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne to look toward hybrid power in order to meet his company’s future regulatory demands.
“Hybrids (will) become a very large component of (our) fleet,” he said today while dedicating the company’s new Indiana transmission plant. “You can’t get it without the hybrids. It’s impossible.” That said, however, he also suggested that the company’s internal mileage-extension program is also on track.
“The house will make it,” he said, even though the carmaker is currently ranked last in fuel economy when compared with Chrysler’s direct domestic competitors including Ford and GM. Nevertheless, new technologies abound these days, and particularly the aforementioned debut of the company’s new nine-speed automatic transmission plant situated at Tipton.
According to Marchionne, the new nine-speed unit will drive the majority of all of the company’s front-wheel offerings going forward. And in the case of the 2015 Chrysler 200, specifically, the new tranny will provide an estimated fuel economy highway average of 36 miles to the gallon.
The effort has been evolutionary in nature since early on he became unhappy with the company’s powertrain mix; calling Chrysler’s cluster of mis-matched powertrain products a “collection of mutts.’ Now, with the company’s 8-speed system well-ensconced within its truck line, and now, with the emergence of the new ZF nine-speed rolling out in Chrysler’s sedan and Jeep products, things are picking up apace.
Nonetheless, Marchionne has had hybrids on his mind for some time, since previously, he announced that the company would introduce a new hybrid Town and Country van for the 2016 model year. Consequently, today’s comments appear to further indicate that the Italian boss is serious about walking the walk, along with clearly talking the talk.