Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Philadelphia area
Car: 2009 Mercury Grand Marquis
I don't see how the Hemi is really hurting Chrysler. The engines are actually more fuel efficient than almost all other V8s on the market (and some V6s) thanks to the MDS, which could actually give Chrysler's 8-cylinder products an advantage over competitors in a time of high fuel prices.
At any rate, a buyer shift away from V8s would tend to affect all manufacturers equally, and Chrysler is insulated somewhat in that all their passenger cars offer V8s only as an option, with 4 and 6 cylinder units as standard. The big hit comes in the profitability of the Hemi, as its a very low tech engine manufactured in a low-cost Mexican factory, yet it sells at a price premium, making it more profitable than Chrysler's other engines.
Chrysler has probably the strongest passenger car line of the Big Three, but the company is even more reliant on light trucks than Ford or GM. This is mainly a side effect of Jeep- 1/3 of Chrysler's brands is used exclusively on SUVs and 4X4s. With light trucks consuming so much of its business, no matter how good its passenger cars may be (and they seem to have peaked with the 300), there's no way they could ever compensate for a major drop in truck sales.