Marchionne: No money in diesel-powered small cars

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Editor's note: Chrysler offers six-cylinder diesels in its heavy-duty pickups. An earlier version of this story misstated the number of cylinders.

DETROIT — Chrysler Group’s plans for new smaller engines — due to be revealed May 6 — are unlikely to include a four-cylinder diesel for the company’s compact and mid-sized cars.

CEO Sergio Marchionne said offering a clean diesel powertrain in a smaller car comes “at a cost that will keep that vehicle from being economically viable.”

Chrysler offers six-cylinder diesels in its heavy-duty pickups, and six-cylinder diesels in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500. But while General Motors and Volkswagen Group offer four-cylinder diesels in cars such as the compact Chevrolet Cruze and mid-sized VW Passat, Chrysler is unlikely to follow.

“You can do this on a larger vehicle because of the costs associated with those vehicles. It’s much more difficult to join with a car like [the Chrysler 200 sedan] and keep the margins above normal,” Marchionne said. “Other manufacturers are making the cars. The question of whether they’re making money is a question you should ask them specifically."

You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@crain.com.


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