End of an Era: Chrysler Dealers asked to Downplay Hemi Name

Chrysler dealers have been recently informed to stop using the Hemi name, and instead start referring to its powerful engines as V-8s. The move is part of Fiat's plan to refine Chrysler's image and for it to start being seen as a more fuel-efficient automaker.

The Auburn Hills, Mich.-based automaker wants to stress the efficiency of its new 3.6-liter Pentastar powerplant, expected to increase fuel economy by 25 percent over its previous V-6 engines, which debuted in the new-for-2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Dealers will also promote four-cylinder offerings, to help to introduce the new Fiat 500 scheduled to launch later this year.

Fear not, fans of the big V-8, as Chrysler will continue to market the engine as a Hemi in Ram trucks and certain Dodge cars. Select Jeep models and the Chrysler 300 will continue to be available with the powerplant, but salespeople will be instructed to refer to them as 5.7-liter V-8 engines. Inquiring consumers will also be informed of the engine's ability to deactivate cylinders while cruising on the highway.

In years past, the Hemi engine was the cornerstone engine in Chrysler's product portfolio. Several advertising campaigns revolved around the powerplant, with the name permanently emblazoned into the American consumer conscience. The Hemi's decline in popularity began two summers ago when gas prices spiked above $4 per gallon and consumers began to seek vehicles featuring better fuel economy.

Source: The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required)

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