The Chrysler Group plans to invest $450 million in its Kenosha, WI, plant for a comprehensive retooling as it prepares to launch a new family of more fuel-efficient V-6 engines for use in its cars and light trucks.
The investment and retooling are part of a larger $3-billion powertrain retooling strategy, according to Richard Chow-Wah, Chrysler’s vp-powertrain manufacturing. The strategy involves developing and launching the new engines -- known as the Phoenix engines -- in addition to a dual-clutch transmission joint venture with German parts maker Getrag and a new common axle family.
Scheduled to begin production in January 2011, the plant will have an annual Phoenix production capacity of 400,000 units when it reaches full volume, said Chow-Wah. He said retooling for the Kenosha Phoenix Engine Plant will begin in June 2010.
“This retooling investment will allow us to build an entirely new, globally competitive family of V-6 engines,” he noted. “It’s [part of our] focus on new products and long-term commitment to new vehicle components that support consumer demand for refined, economical-to-operate vehicles for many years to come.”
Over the long term, the Phoenix family of V-6 engines will reduce manufacturing complexity by paring Chrysler’s four current V-6 engine architectures down to one, Chow-Wah added.