Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler Group, confirmed in his announcement that the 2012 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited will get a new 3.6-liter V-6 powertrain. Internally dubbed the “Pentastar V-6,” the powertrain first debuted on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and is making its way to new Chrysler vehicles like the 2011 Dodge Charger and refreshed products such as the 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan. While the 2011 Wrangler gets a significantly upgraded interior, it still sticks with the rather anemic 202-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6. Chrysler’s new V-6 has so far offered anywhere between 283 hp (2011 Grand Caravan) to 305 hp (2011 Dodge Challenger) depending on the vehicle.
In the same sales call, Marchionne also talked in-depth about Dodge’s upcoming small car. He confirmed that the model will, in fact, come in sedan form, not a hatchback like the 2011 Dodge Caliber. Hatchbacks tend to be a less popular choice with American car buyers.
Marchionne said the Dodge sedan will specifically be based of Fiat’s new compact platform, which underpins the new Alfa Romeo Giuletta. Marchionne also said the new platform will be the “architecture that will govern all of Chrysler’s C- and D-segment vehicles, both passenger cars and SUVs, for the foreseeable future.” That means Chrysler’s next-generation midsize sedans and crossovers will likely come from the same underpinnings as the new small Dodge sedan. Expect the Dodge sedan to go into production early on in 2012 at the Belvidere, Ill., Assembly Plant, which is currently undergoing $600 million in renovations for the model.
One other nugget from the sales call included Marchionne’s thoughts on the versatile Jeep Grand Cherokee platform, which will also underpin the new 2011 Dodge Durango. Marchionne says he’s looking into utilizing the platform to make an SUV for either the Alfa Romeo or Maserati brands, using more powerful engines than what’s currently offered in the Jeep.