Rinaldo Rinolfi may just have something up his sleeve to make Fiat SpA’s partnership with Chrysler Group LLC work.
The 62-year-old engineer, who designed the Fiat diesel engine in the 1990s that became an industry standard and powers some of Europe’s most energy-efficient cars, has a new invention he says will cut fuel consumption by at least 10 percent. His work is at the heart of the Fiat technology that Chrysler said was worth $10 billion when they formed their alliance.
“We needed to do something radical with the gasoline engine,” Rinolfi said in an interview at Fiat’s research center in the northern city of Turin, the company’s headquarters.
Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, seeking to turn around Chrysler after two previous owners failed, has engineers flying between Detroit and Italy every other week on the project as Fiat prepares to offer models that meet stricter consumption and emissions levels required by President Barack Obama.