DETROIT -- Central to Sergio Marchionne's plan to resurrect Chrysler is the use of Fiat's fuel-efficient engines and transmissions in Chrysler vehicles.
The fast-moving Chrysler Group CEO took another step toward that goal last week when he brought a veteran Fiat engineer to Detroit and put him in charge of a powertrain organization with increased clout.
Marchionne last week named Paolo Ferrero, 54, senior vice president of Chrysler powertrain. Ferrero reports directly to Marchionne.
The appointment increases the importance of the powertrain group. Previously, Chrysler's head of powertrain engineering reported to the head of product development.
Robert Lee, head of powertrain engineering, remains employed by the company, said spokeswoman Shawn Morgan. "We're still in the process of restructuring that area," she said.
In addition to highly regarded small engines, Fiat has a promising fuel-saving technology that it calls MultiAir, a variable valve timing system for small engines. The system provides direct control of air and combustion in engines, cylinder by cylinder and stroke by stroke.
Chrysler is considering MultiAir for some engines, including the 2.0- and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines and its new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. The first car equipped with a MultiAir engine will be the Alfa Romeo MiTo subcompact. MiTo variants with MultiAir go on sale this month in Italy, France and Germany. The rest of continental Europe gets the technology in October.
Fiat also has a dual-clutch transmission, another fuel-saving technology.