Detroit Free Press. Incoming Chrysler Group CEO Tom LaSorda said Wednesday that the automaker is looking at reducing the horsepower of future engines to increase fuel efficiency. The CEO made the statement at a luncheon at corporate headquarters.
That said, however, LaSorda also pointed out that the company has not seen consumers altering their buying habits.
“We’re not seeing any massive changes,“ LaSorda said.
Still, he said the balancing act between power and fuel efficiency must be examined in this environment.
Somewhat ironically, Chrysler today also announced:
The all-new 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab with the largest pickup cab ever.
Pricing for the 2006 Charger SRT8—a 425-hp, 420 lb-ft “Charger on Steroids” that Chrysler deems the “Ultimate Modern American Muscle Sedan.”
Pricing for the 2006 Dodge Viper SRT10 Coupe equipped with a 500-hp, 525-lb-ft V10 “With heart-pounding performance and head-turning design...plus a race-bred, stick-to-the-pavement suspension and braking performance that will separate your retinas.”
(Quotations in the list above are from Chrysler Group press material.)
Given its assessment of buying patterns, its unlikely Chrysler will be making major changes in its lineup soon. Of the 10 new cars and trucks on tap for 2006, none reflect anything but modest improvements, such as the use of the new series of 4-cylinder engines that are 5% more efficient than their predecessors.
LaSorda noted that Chrysler is ramping up plans to bring more efficient diesel engines to the market, as well as a hybrid gasoline-electric Dodge Durango SUV by 2007. The hybrid Durango would be Chrysler’s first application of the joint GM-Chrysler two-mode hybrid drivetrain. (Earlier post.)