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January 19, 2012

Millionth Pentastar V-6 celebrates engine of Chrysler's revival

Chrysler Group LLC's recovery has been powered by a lot of things.

The Auburn Hills carmaker's new leadership has taken advantage of bankruptcy restructuring, recast its entire lineup and last week even introduced a competitive small car that will top 40 mpg.

But today, Chrysler workers at the Trenton Engine Plant will piece together the real muscle behind the carmaker's recovery. They will assemble the 1 millionth 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine.

Powertrains often get the short end of the respect stick when it comes to praise for a vehicle. Everyone loves to talk about posh interiors and artistic exteriors, but it's the powertrain that gets a car from point A to point B. It's the powertrain that ultimately determines the vehicle's fuel economy. It's the powertrain that makes people scream with joy.

And the two-year-old Pentastar V-6 is a remarkable hunk of metal that has had Chrysler screaming with joy all the way to the bank.

It's easier to list the vehicles the Pentastar V-6 is not in (there are six) than the vehicles that have it under their hoods (13). Big sedans such as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger both come with the Pentastar blasting out nearly 300 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic transmission that lets these big wheels get better than 30 mpg.

Incredible.

But smaller vehicles such as the company's Dodge Avenger and the Jeep Wrangler now come with the Pentastar as well, providing significantly more refined power. (Chrysler engineers had to move a couple of pieces around on the Pentastar for the Wrangler to make it able to go through deep water, but it's still the same engine.)

Of course, the Pentastar powers both minivans, the Dodge Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country, with fluid torque that keeps these offerings at the top of their class.

Even the award-winning Jeep Grand Cherokee uses the Pentastar V-6.

Don't be surprised when Ram announces the Pentastar is under the hood of its pickups; it only makes sense. The engine provides lots of muscle, it's fuel efficient, and six-cylinder pickups are back in vogue.

The Pentastar is everywhere, and people have noticed.

For the past two years, the Pentastar V-6 has been named one of Ward's Automotive Group's 10 Best Engines, a highly coveted title.

More importantly, the Pentastar replaces seven six-cylinder engines that Chrysler used to put into different vehicles. That's seven different engines that require different tools, different parts and different people to put them together.

It's easy to see how that many different engines, all created to do basically the same thing, could be a drain on a company's resources.

Using one instead of seven shows how far Chrysler has come in planning future vehicles, creating common components and sticking to a plan that requires great vehicles and great powertrains.

And the respect this engine should get is remarkable. It even makes the Chrysler 200 more fun to drive.

But it also pumps out an incredible amount of power, up to 305 horsepower, as found on the Dodge Challenger, something that not that long ago was unimaginable for a naturally aspirated V-6.

Engines might never grab the glory that so many other parts of a vehicle seem to catch. But today, with the making of the 1 millionth V-6, the Pentastar deserves a little of the spotlight. Drive on.


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One Millionth Chrysler Pentastar V-6 Engine Produced at Trenton Engine

State-of-the-art Chrysler V-6 engine reaches milestone in just 18 months

Pentastar engine now offered across 11 Chrysler Group models

Truly diversified engine is available in front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive models including new Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger with eight-speed transmission

January 27, 2012 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Just 18 months following the start of production as the standard engine for the 2010 Jeep® Grand Cherokee, the one millionth Pentastar V-6 engine was assembled today at the Chrysler Group’s Trenton (Mich.) Engine Assembly Plant.

“The Pentastar engine is a cornerstone of Chrysler Group’s effort to reinvent its business model with world class quality products. This award-winning engine is proof that the Company is transforming it products to meet the needs of our customers,” said Brian Harlow, Vice President, Head of Powertrain Manufacturing, Chrysler Group LLC. “To build one million of anything, and in an impressively short amount of time, is a significant achievement. But to do it with such a high degree of quality is a testament to our skilled and dedicated workforce at both Trenton South and Saltillo engine plants.”

The 60-degree, V-6 engine, the most advanced six-cylinder ever produced by Chrysler, is now available in 11 vehicles across the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep® lineup and available in front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive configurations. Depending on the vehicle, engines are tuned for specific applications with horsepower ranging from 283 on front-wheel-drive models and up to 305 horsepower on the sporty Dodge Challenger. The all-aluminum engine is standard or available on the Chrysler, 200, 300 and Town and Country; Dodge Avenger, Challenger, Charger, Durango, Journey and Caravan.

For 2012, the 3.6-liter engine also is standard with Jeep® Wrangler and provides 285 horsepower – an increase of 40 percent over last year’s model. Torque is up 10 percent to 260 lb. ft. and highway fuel efficiency is improved to 21 miles per gallon (mpg) on the 2012 model.

Engineered to meet a variety of requirements, the Pentastar V-6 engine also is the exclusive engine used with the new eight-speed automatic transmission on the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 models. The new engine and transmission combination deliver 31 mpg on the highway.

Just recently, the Pentastar V-6 repeated as one of the “10 Best Engines” following evaluation and testing by editors of Ward’s Automotive magazine.

Despite the impressive gains in power, the engine is designed to run on regular 87 octane gasoline. It also is capable of running on alternate fuels including E85.

Designed for the future
Since its introduction, the new engine has replaced six legacy V-6 engines ranging from 2.7-liter up to 4.0-liters in the Chrysler Group LLC product portfolio. Overall, the new Pentastar has enabled Chrysler’s Powertrain organization to reduce major engine components from 189 parts to just 32, greatly simplifying the build process and improving quality.
Some parts, including exhaust manifolds, have completely disappeared by virtue of being cast directly into the cylinder head. Previously, 32 different exhaust manifolds were used on a variety of V-6 engines. Upper- and lower- intake assemblies, which accounted for 21 and 11 different part numbers (respectively), have been reduced to two upper and two lower assemblies.

Camshaft variations have dropped from 14 to four and just two fuel -rail assemblies are now required rather than the previous 14.

Weight reductions are equally impressive. Fully dressed, the new Pentastar V-6 is 94 pounds lighter than the 3.7-liter engine it replaced on the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Similarly, while larger in displacement, the Pentastar is 42 pounds lighter than the 3.5-liter it replaced in the Chrysler 300.

The engine also is extremely efficient with advanced emission technology.

The V-6 requires no Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) which helps reduce the mass and complexity of the engine. The engine meets Federal Tier 2 BIN 5 emission requirements and Ultra-low Emissions Vehicle II (ULEV II) standards, and was designed to meet all known future worldwide standards including LEV III and PZEV Californian standards. For export, the engine is capable of meeting Euro6 emission standards.

In addition to Trenton South, the Pentastar V-6 also is produced in Saltillo, Mexico.

More than 1,300 workers are employed at the two engine assembly plants with two shifts at each location. The Trenton Engine Plant, one of Chrysler group’s most modern plants, was the first engine manufacturing facility to receive the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold Certificate for environmental excellence in building design.
 
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