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Chrysler Delivers 8% Fuel Economy Improvement on 2009 Minivans

The new 2009 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan models equipped with a 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine now deliver EPA fuel economy ratings of 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway—up 8% compared to 2008’s 16 mpg city and 23 mpg highway.

A best-in-class aerodynamic exterior (Cd 0.33) encapsulates the optimized 4.0-liter single overhead cam (SOHC) aluminum V-6 engine that produces 251 hp (189 kW) of power and 259 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque. The engine is coupled with a re-tuned six-speed transmission and higher numerical first gear.

Smaller steps between ratios—meaning that the engine speed changes less with each shift—create a smooth driving dynamic with improved fuel economy.

Chrysler and Dodge minivans hold more than 40% of the US minivan market segment.

Comments

Trehugger

ToppaTom

I think you forget the main part of the story : in the end 80s the big 3 put seats in light-truck to make passenger cars and the reason why is that light trucks were not supposed to meet CAFE standard plus they were protected by a 30% import tax at the time (then later Nissan won the case in court to remove that tax) That was easier for them than trying to improve efficiency sure...

Trehugger

On more last thing

In the early 80s the european auto industry was devastated by the Japanese competition, and was given for dead, in the 90s european automaker made a comeback in quality and performance anad they pretty much kicked out the japanese auto industry (almost) and it was not by sacrificing efficiency or making dinausors of steel, just regular cars.

ToppaTom

@ Treehugger.
You say “ … how many models the big three have in the top 10 most efficient ,,? None, and they may never. That’s just the point. Since the 1960s and before (Falcon, Corvair, Nova, Gremlin, and many more) they have tried to sell small cars and recently to compete with the Japanese. They cannot; pensions certainly don’t help – Paying their autoworkers more than Toyota America pays theirs (not mention more than Toyota Japan does) is what has killed them. What do you mean "In 2008 they realize it is time to make efficient vehicle ?" Realization is not the problem. Of course they try to forestall tighter CAFE standards – they cannot compete with the Japanese on small “CAFE friendly” cars. If they had jumped heavily into small cars years ago they would be long gone and we would say “Why did they invest billions in small cars, Japan was not yet into trucks, and trucks are still selling reasonably well?”
Is this concept so hard?
I do not think you have the “seats in the bed” right. I thought it allowed Subaru or Toyota to import trucks as non-trucks - but it is not relevant and has no bearing anyway – yes the big 3 do oppose aggressive CAFE - to stay alive – they cannot compete in small cars due to their labor costs.
(There was no competition in large vehicles either but that is ending - this is the end)
European auto industry revival. Is the UAW active in the European auto factories? Do you think it might be a factor?

Trehugger

ToppaTom

The unions are quite powerfull in the European auto industry though I don't rememember that in the 90s they protested too much against the consolidations of the industry. But they didn't have too much choice in fact. The present problem of the US auto industry is tight to what happened in the early 80s : bad political choices. The choice to import more and more oil to compensate the decrease of the domestic production (and of course increase the military presence in the middle east to make sure the accesss to cheap oil was free...) Chrysler should have died in the 80s then it would have leave enough room for the 2 remaining big 2 to surive even making small cars. The customer never asked for SUV, this type of product has been entirely fostered by the big 3 taking advantage of the loophole I mentionned above. So maybe they saved the US auto industry in the 80s by importing more and more cheap oil to allow them sell their gaz guzzler but it won't work this time again , they have to be more creative...and honnestly I don't see a solution without a strong support from the US government (after salvaging the bank from the disaster let salvage the auto industry from the next disaster and print paper money for this...

ToppaTom

You say that the European unions are strong, but not as strong – Right.
You claim that the present problem is tied to the early 80s choice to import more and more oil. Chrysler should been left to die to eave room for the remaining 2 to survive and make small cars. You think domestic competition killed the domestic small car?
You say SUVs were fostered on us by taking advantage of the loophole mentioned above. Loophole???. I think you mean that when offered big cars, when gas was cheap, Americans bought. Or are you alleging some kind of mind control also?
You imply “they” (cheap oil?) saved the US auto industry in the 80s.
Yes, cheap oil allowed the big 3 to make profitable big cars with little or no foreign competition.
You say ”it” won’t work this time, as if there is some kind of evil conspiracy against people who like little cars, which is really weird paranoia but is not relevant anyway, because cheap oil does seem to be over.
You say they have to be more creative (how, what, pray?) but don't see a solution without strong support from the US government.
Exactly right, and I think we all know that government support rewards the big 3 (stockholders and workers) for not being able to compete.
But OK if it is likely to “get them though” some momentary bad times.
Do you actually believe their claims that they just need a few billion to get new cars on line and surge back into health.
But do you think domestic autos will NOT disappear like TVs and VCRs and furniture and motorcycles and toys and aircraft (27,000 machinists strike is expected to cripple Boeing), if the big 3 just change their evil ways and no longer exhaust themselves “making” us buy big cars?

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