Dodge Caliber Adopts Global Development Strategy
The all new Dodge Caliber is a good example of global cooperation in automotive product development. Caliber overcomes daunting challenges of cross-continent and cross-cultural communications.
Major Participants – Chrysler Group – Mitsubishi – Hyundai – JATCO
The basic platform is from Mitsubishi. Called the GS Platform, the basic parameters were established years ago while DaimlerChrysler was still an equity holder in Mitsubishi Motors. After DCX divested itself of its MMC shares, the contractural relationship with Mitsubishi on the GS platform continued. Over time, Chrysler Group will get numerous GS spin-offs including the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus. Mitsubishi-based platforms will occupy two Chrysler Group plants – Belvidere, Illinois and Sterling Heights, Michigan.
While the basic platform is a Mitsubishi, everything from the floorplan up – meaning the sheetmetal and interior trim is unique to Chrysler.
Wondering if the relationship was cordial or strained after the break-up, Chrysler managers were very complimentary about working with Mitsubishi’s Japanese product development groups.
But that is not the end of the story. That only gets us the basic platform but not the powertrain. This is where the Global Engine Alliance comes in.
In Jurgen Schremp heyday, Daimler-Benz was acquiring Chrysler Corporation to create DaimlerChrysler (DCX), and add Smart and Maybach to its brand stable. But that’s not all. DCX also bought controlling interest in Mitsubishi and strengthened its equity stake in Hyundai Motor Corporation in South Korea.
Global Engine Alliance Successful Remnant of DCX-Mitsubishi-Hyundai Relationship
DCX sent a swarm of German and American managers to Japan to take over operating control of MMC and to “assist” Mitsubishi in developing joint projects to be shared with Chrysler Group. With Hyundai in the mix, DCX also created the Global Engine Alliance to develop shared 4-cylinder engines.
Hyundai was well down the path in developing a new 4-cylinder engine family to replace the outdated (Mitsubishi-based) 4-cylinders that were powering their cars, so Hyundai Motor Corporation powertrain engineers took the lead on the Hyundai-Mitsubishi-Chrysler engine program.
The result is the family of 4-cylinder engines found in the Caliber – 1.8L, 2.0L and 2.4L displacements are found in the U.S. vehicle. The Caliber’s engines are produced in an all-new state of the art engine plant in Dundee, Michigan. Hyundai has a plant producing the engines in Korea and Mitsubishi has one producing them in Japan.
Chrysler portrays the engines as “world-class” and they do feel good. Originally, Chrysler was only going to take the 2.0L (158HP) and 2.4L (172HP) engines for its U.S. offerings, but the 148HP output of the 1.8L was judged adequate for a 5-speed manual version of the base Caliber.
Comparing specs, the 2.4L 4-cylinder with 172HP has more horsepower than equivalent sized 4-cylinders from the bigger Japanese brand manufacturers.
Oh yeah, the CVT transmission in the Caliber is from JATCO.