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    Chrysler To Idle Mack II Engine Plant


    William Maley

    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    July 17, 2012

    Chrysler announced today that they will idle their Mack II engine plant in Detroit in September as production of the 3.7L V6 comes to an end.

    The 3.7L V6 powered the Dodge Nitro, Dodge Ram, and Jeep Liberty.

    The Dodge Nitro has already been shown the door. The current Jeep Liberty will end its run next month as the Toledo, Ohio plant where it’s built undergoes a $500 million upgrade. The Ram drops the 3.7L V6 for the 3.6L Pentastar V6 due out later this year.

    About 200 employees who work at the Mack II engine plant have received received layoff notices but won’t lose their jobs. A Chrysler spokeswoman explained the workers will be moved to other Chrysler plants.

    The Mack II engine plant was built in 1999, offering 650,000 square feet and assembled the 3.7-liter engine exclusively. The adjacent Mack I engine plant which builds the 4.7L V8 will continue on.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Wonder how long before they retool the MackII plant for some new I4 Turbo engine or Turbo V6. I can see this getting used again within the next year.

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      314
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      481
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      New
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      2,754
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      23,118
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      180,727
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      1,325,536
      1,269,277
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      44,955
      47,177
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      374,543
      418,721
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      91,703
      90,926
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      575,632
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      42,021
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      302,082
      274,924
      10%
       
       
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      The one bright spot for the powertrain is the nine-speed automatic. This transmission has been a sore point in a number of FCA vehicles for sluggish shifting and not feeling refined. With the 500X and Renegade, it seems FCA has been able to fix many of the wrongs of the nine-speed. Gear changes are much faster and smoother than in previous models.
       
      Both models can be equipped with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Both models came equipped with all-wheel drive. This system primarily works in front-wheel drive to help improve fuel economy. But if the system detects slip, it will hook up the rear axle and start sending power for better traction. The Renegade has the more advanced all-wheel drive system known as Jeep Active Drive. This system gives the driver the choice of various drive modes (Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud) that adjusts the all-wheel drive, steering, and transmission to provide the best settings for the conditions at hand. There’s also a 4WD lock that splits power 50:50 to provide added traction. Thanks to a freak snow storm in April, I was able to put the system to the test. Driving on some snowy roads, the system was able to keep the Renegade moving without the tires spinning.
       
      The Renegade Trailhawk takes the system a step further with Active Drive Low. As the name suggests, this system features low range via a two-speed transfer case. This allows the Trailhawk to tackle more difficult obstacles such as rocks.
       
      Fuel economy is terrible for the class. The Fiat 500X is rated at 21 City/30 Highway/24 Combined. The Renegade matches the 500X in city and combined fuel figures but is only rated at 29 for the highway. Our average for the week was a very disappointing 22.1 MPG in both vehicles. This is a figure you would expect in a larger crossover, not a subcompact.
       




       
      The ride in both vehicles is on the firm and harsh side. You’ll be able to tell how bad the roads around you are as bumps and road imperfections are transmitted to the seats. Interestingly, both the 500X and Renegade are quite fun around corners. The vehicles feel agile and the steering has some decent weight. But as the Mazda CX-3 has shown, you can have excellent handling characteristics and a decent ride in a crossover. On the highway, the Renegade is the noisier of the two with a large amount of wind noise coming inside.
       
      As for pricing, the 500X and Renegade get off to a good start. The Renegade starts at $17,995 and the 500X comes in at $20,000. Where it falls apart comes in the higher trims. Our two testers had price tags of just under $32,000 - $31,695 for the Renegade Limited and $31,800 for the 500X Trekking Plus. For that same amount of money, you can get into a well-equipped or even a loaded compact crossover. Neither one of these models is worth their high price tags.
       
      The subcompact crossover class has become a hotly contested class in only a couple of years and you have to show up with your a-game if you want to make an impact. In the case the 500X and Renegade, FCA dropped the ball. The larger four-cylinder engine should be shown the door for its issues in terms of refinement and fuel economy. The ride characteristics need a rethink and the value for money argument is tough when dealing with the higher trim models. This is very disappointing as the two models have some characteristics that should put them a bit higher in the class. The Fiat 500X’s interior looks and feels like something you would find in a luxury model. The Jeep Renegade can go into places that other subcompact crossovers not even dare try thanks to a clever all-wheel drive system and Jeep’s off-road know-how.
       
      But these positive points cannot overcome the numerous issues both of the vehicles have. It would be best to avoid them.
       
      Cheers: Off-Road Ability (Renegade), Interior Styling and Features (500X), Nine-Speed Automatic Is Much Better
      Jeers: 2.4L Is Terrible, Rough Ride, Pricing for Higher Trims
       

      Album: Review: 2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus AWD
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      Album: Review: 2016 Jeep Renegade Limited 4X4
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      Disclaimer: FCA Provided the 500X and Renegade; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas 
      Year: 2016
      Make: Fiat
      Model: 500X
      Trim: Trekking Plus AWD
      Engine: 2.4L Multi-Air Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 175 @ 3,900
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/30/24
      Curb Weight: 3,278 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Melfi, Italy
      Base Price: $29,000
      As Tested Price: $31,800 (Includes $900.00 Destination Charge)
       
      Options:
      Trekking Plus Collection 1 - $1,900
       
      Year: 2016
      Make: Jeep
      Model: Renegade
      Trim: Limited 4X4
      Engine: 2.4L Multi-Air Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 175 @ 3,900
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 21/29/24
      Curb Weight: 3,348 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Melfi, Italy
      Base Price: $26,995
      As Tested Price: $31,695 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
       
      Options:
      6.5-inch Navigation Group with Uconnect - $1,245
      Advanced Technology Group - $995
      Beats Premium Audio System - $695
      Safety and Security Group - $645
      Passive Entry Keyless Enter n' Go Package - $125


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