Chrysler on FIRE

Well, that’s FIRE as in Fully Integrated Robotized Engine.

Well, that’s FIRE as in Fully Integrated Robotized Engine. And, no, this isn’t an engine that is in anyway related to an Autobot or any other creature from Cybertron.

But before we get to that, it is important to note that Chrysler has announced a $179-million investment to produce the 1.4-liter, 16-valve, 100-hp engine at the company’s Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Michigan.

This investment is expected to yield a total of 573 jobs, including 155 direct Chrysler workers.

Production will begin at the plant in the fourth quarter of 2010. The engine will be used in the Fiat 500 that will be built in North America (said to be the Toluca Assembly Plant in Mexico, where the PT Cruiser is built).

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Which brings us back to FIRE.

Apparently the term came up back in the 1970s when industrial robots began to be used in engine plants. It seems that the people at Fiat were so taken with the technology, that when they began to use robots in a big way in the engine plants, they designated the engines as FIRE. And even though robots are certainly status quo, the name has stuck.

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The engine is quite modern, as it features electrohydraulic variable valve actuators that, by adjusting valve opening or closing, improve fuel efficiency, power and emissions levels by 10% each. It is called “MultiAir” in Fiat parlance. A turbo version is also planned; it is said to provide a 25% fuel economy improvement compared with a V6 engine of the same horsepower.