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Hemi reprieve?

by David Zatz on

Will the Hemi be given new life, now that tough CAFE standards expected to be repealed?

That’s a question posted by many enthusiasts, post-election. The Trump administration has indicated its plan to repeal President Obama’s executive orders and both Trump and leaders in Congress have said they plan to drop fuel economy standards (some have also suggested ending the EPA, as well, though this is unlikely to happen).

Hemi engine with ZF HP8 8-speed transmission

That would leave Chrysler free to invest in the 5.7 liter Hemi, without paying fines for low corporate fuel economy (the 392 and Hellcat were likely to continue through 2020). The question thus becomes one of business, not regulation.

The main advantages of the Hemi over a turbo/supercharged V6 seem to be its lower cost, marketing (many people only want a V8, or at least prefer a V8), and ability to run on midgrade instead of premium gas. On the other hand, the Hemi is likely heavier than the future 400-hp Pentastar, and developing it adds one more project to test the resources of an overstressed FCA, with the expense of inventory, testing, maintenance, and optimization. Will the company spend the time and money to add direct injection? Will it stay competitive, or slowly lose ground to better-financed competitors?

Even with government out of the picture, the future of the 5.7 Hemi is far from certain.

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