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CHRYSLER ANNOUNCES TRUE FLEXIBLE FUEL CAPABILITY AT NO COST TO CUSTOMERS

 CHRYSLER ANNOUNCES TRUE FLEXIBLE FUEL CAPABILITY
 AT NO COST TO CUSTOMERS
 LOS ANGELES, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Chrysler Corp. (NYSE: C) yesterday announced it will begin July delivery of Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) versions of its Dodge Spirit and Plymouth Acclaim to fleet and retail customers without any additional price premium.
 Chrysler's FFVs use a unique fuel sensing device that allows operation on any fuel tank mixture of gasoline and up to 85 percent methanol (M85) with no noticeable difference in performance, driveability or reliability.
 "Last May, we introduced our Methanol Concentration Smart Sensor making possible the production of true flexible fuel vehicles that will be totally transparent to the owner," said Chrysler's Francois J. Castaing, vice president-vehicle engineering. "Now we are putting our money where our mouth is and will offer these environment- friendly vehicles with no price premium."
 The cost of the flexible fuel system for these 1993 model vehicles will be absorbed by Chrysler.
 According to the California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.), methanol burns almost 60 percent cleaner than today's unleaded gasolines.
 Chrysler will begin delivery of FFV Dodge Spirits and Plymouth Acclaims with a fleet of 100 vehicles in government service, most likely in Washington, D.C. and California. An additional 2,000 FFVs have been scheduled for fleet and retail sales in California, the market with the most-developed methanol infrastructure.
 "California, with more than 30 methanol fueling locations representing 75 percent of the total locations we know of around the country, is the obvious choice to begin sales of Chrysler FFVs," said Castaing.
 Castaing noted Chrysler supports and will participate in California's "Drive Clean, California" campaign, which encourages the purchase of FFVs by offering rebates up to $2,000 to fleet buyers, thus strengthening Chrysler's FFV price position.
 Castaing also outlined Chrysler's plans for flexible fuel, compressed natural gas and electric vehicles, emphasizing the "can do" approach the company is taking to help meet the challenge of reducing foreign oil dependence and improving air quality.
 "The potential U.S. supply of methanol is vast," he said. "However, less than a fraction of 1 percent of the fuel stations in this country offer M85.
 "That is why our plans beyond the initial 2,100 1993 model year Chrysler FFVs will be strictly market driven," said Castaing. "However, the technology we have developed with innovations like our Smart Sensor allows us to plan for potential production of up to 100,000 FFVs in both the 1994 and 1995 model years.
 "This is why Chrysler is a 'can do' company," he added.
 Castaing added that since the cost per mile of methanol is similar to that of premium unleaded gasoline, Chrysler hopes to spur interest in FFVs and help develop the market and the methanol fueling infrastructure with its strong price positioning.
 However, Castaing did note that Chrysler's FFVs are designed to function reliably even without a thoroughly developed methanol infrastructure as they can operate on any mixture of gasoline and M85, including 100 percent unleaded gasoline.
 In addition to no premium cost for the methanol fuel capability, Chrysler FFV customers will benefit from the company's unique warranty coverage available on all its vehicles, the "Owner's Choice Protection Plan." Under the plan, customers can choose between the traditional 12-month/12,000-mile basic limited warranty plus seven-year/70,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, or a three- year/36,000-mile basic and powertrain limited warranty plan. There are no deductibles under the plan.
 Chrysler Flexible Fuel Vehicle Specifications
 Vehicle Description
 Model Dodge Spirit and Plymouth Acclaim
 Engine 2.5-liter four cylinder multipoint fuel
 injection
 Transmission 3-speed automatic
 Fuel capacity 18 gallons (gasoline vehicle: 16 gallons)
 Fuel Flexible: Can burn M85, gasoline or any
 combination of these. Normally runs on M85
 (85 percent methanol, 15 percent unleaded
 gasoline)
 Fuel economy/
 range Not yet finalized; will exceed 200-mile
 minimum requirement.
 Emission levels Not yet finalized; will meet existing federal
 and California requirements.
 Maintenance Special engine oil required; change interval
 differs from gasoline vehicles.
 Fuel sensor New Chrysler Smart Sensor instantaneously
 alerts engine computer to exact concentration
 of methanol and gasoline being supplied to the
 engine fuel injectors. Computer optimizes
 engine control -- spark advance, fuel
 injection, etc. -- for observed composition to
 give peak efficiency, fuel economy and low
 emissions.
 -0- 1/3/92
 /CONTACT: Jason Vines, 313-956-5346; Tom Kowaleski, 313-956-5342; or Michael Coates, 213-622-1644, all of Chrysler/
 (C) CO: Chrysler Corp. ST: California IN: AUT SU: PDT


KJ-EH -- LA007 -- 6556 01/03/92 15:27 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 3, 1992
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