Fiat Group's plant in Brazil, formally belonging to Chrysler, will produce engines for the new Fiat Punto. Since the late ‘90s, Tritec Motors, built 1m 4 cylinder 1.6 litre engines for Minis and the Chrysler Neon and PT Cruiser. Since March 2008, the plant has belonged to Fiat Group.
The 538,000 sq/ft facility, located on 321 acres near Curituba, had previously been the focus of media reports, which a Chinese manufacturer wanted to dismantle the factory and take it back to China. Instead, through Fiats investment into Chrysler, the factory has been renovated to the tune of $250m. On three shifts, the plant is aiming to make 40,000 engines by 2014, 40% of which will be exported.
As well as the current 1.6 litre engine, Fiat has developed a new 1.8 litre, producing 130bhp on the E100 ethanol that is supplied throughout Brazil and 128bhp on petrol, both at 5,250 rpm. That engine will be debuting in the Punto Essence 1.8 and Sporting 1.8, linked to a 5 speed Dualogic gearbox.
Both engines are called E.torQ: the E allegedly stands for engineering, energy (dynamism), environment and emotion, and torQ means the twang on low-end power, as much as 80% of maximum torque at just 1,500 rpm. The larger engine replaces the 1.8 litre Opel/Chevrolet engine used since 2001 under the GM-Fiat joint venture, which continued to be supplied after GM and Fiat broke up in 2005.
It goes from 0-60mph in less than 10.5 seconds with a top speed of 114 mph. The 1.8 Essence and 1.8 Sporting models reach 60mph in less than 9.8 seconds and have a top speed of 119 mph, both on ethanol.
Other models likely to be fitted with the new engines include the Linea sedan, which launched in September 2008. Its current 1.9 litre DOHC engine is produced in Argentina but shares all performance specs with the 1.8 litre engine made in Campo Largo.