DETROIT -- The automaker that launched a Dodge this year that can burn up to 1.5 gallons of gasoline a minute finished last in the government's annual report on fuel economy gains.
Yet Fiat Chrysler Automobiles vows that it will meet tough corporate average fuel economy goals in the coming years -- despite products such as the 707-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and a 3-to-1 sales mix of trucks and cars.
FCA finished last among the 11 automakers included in the EPA's annual Fuel Economy Trends report, released last week.
The EPA said the average fuel economy of FCA cars and light trucks was 20.9 mpg in the 2013 model year, up 0.8 mpg from 2012.
The average fuel economy of the entire U.S. industry rose 0.5 mpg to a record 24.1 mpg.
Preliminary data for the 2014 model year showed only slight improvement for both the industry and FCA, though the EPA did cite FCA for having the most fuel-efficient pickup, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
To reach its CAFE goals, FCA has said that it plans to sell more:
- Small vehicles
- Eight- and nine-speed transmissions
- Downsized gasoline engines -- and more diesels.
But unlike many competitors, it will offer only limited numbers of hybrids and electrics.
Chrysler is developing a new line of sub-2.0 liter I-4 engines, dubbed Hurricane, that will achieve better fuel economy than its existing 2.0-liter I-4. Company sources say the engine is due in showrooms by 2016.
It also is planning to field versions of its Pentastar line of V-6 engines with smaller displacements that will meet or exceed the power output of its current 3.6-liter V-6.
The automaker's introduction this year of a light-duty 3.0-liter diesel engine in its half-ton Ram 1500 pickup was a hit, boosting highway fuel economy rating to a segment-best 28 mpg.
In late September, Ram raised its production mix of EcoDiesels to 20 percent of Ram 1500 production.
The company also will equip more of its lineup with fuel-saving eight-speed rear-wheel-drive and nine-speed front-wheel-drive transmissions.
Jeff Lux, Chrysler's head of transmission powertrain, said in a statement that the automaker's successes with improving truck fuel economy "are a vindication of our efforts to introduce advanced technology."