American manufacturers have been lagging behind in powertrain development compared to their European counterparts, but as we just read about Ford’s aggresive catch up plans, US automakers realise that they need to deliver more efficient and economical drivetrains, or face seeing customers looking to Japan and Korea for their new cars.

The Chrysler Group is also on the same boat, but doesn’t need to self-develop thanks to its alliance with Fiat. The Pentastar has announced a powertrain revamp that will see overall fuel-efficiency improvement of over 25% from now till 2014. “Chrysler will attain leadership by rapidly applying Fiat Powertrain tech, such as Multiair, direct injection, turbocharging and transmission systems to its powertrain portfolio,” said Paolo Ferrero, Senior VP, Chrysler Powertrain.

Fiat will donate its 1.4-litre FIRE engine with Multiair, available in naturally aspirated and turbo form. Multiair emplys electro-hydraulic variable-valve actuation to deliver increase in power of up to 10%, improvement in low rpm torque of up to 15% and reduction in fuel consumption and emissions by 10%. The system has full control of the lift and timing of engine valves, independently on each cylinder and during each single engine stroke. The N/A engine has 100 bhp and 129 Nm while the turbo comes with 170 bhp/231 Nm.

Chrysler has also integrated Multiair into its 2.4-litre GEMA World Engine, boosting figures to 190 bhp and 237 Nm from the previous 172 bhp/223 Nm. A turbo version is under development.

Beginning with its D-segment cars, Chrysler will use Fiat’s six-speed Dual Dry Clutch Transmission, which delivers 10% better fuel efficiency. The ‘box can handle up to 350 Nm of torque.