Fiat, after purchasing half of European diesel engine manufacturer VM Motori S.p.A. in 2010, just acquired the other half from General Motors for $47.1 million, giving Fiat complete control of the Cento, Italy, diesel engine producer of about 90,000 engines per year. GM exercised a put option with Fiat to finish the sale.
What does this have to do with anything? More than likely, it means nothing in your daily life, but for the sake of looking intelligent on Facebook, here’s the deal. Fiat, the parent company of the Chrysler Group, owns over half of Chrysler and now also “owns” VM Motori. The 240hp, 420 lb.-ft. of torque 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine (L630 DOHC) now offered in the United States in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2014 Ram 1500 half ton is a VM Motori engine.
Established in 1947 by entrepreneurs Claudio Vancini and Ugo Martelli (get it, “VM”), VM Motori employs about 1,150 people and also has industrial, agricultural, and marine sector customers in addition to Jeep, Chrysler, Lancia, LTI (London Taxi), and even Maserati. The very first vehicle to receive a VM diesel engine was the 1979 Alfa Romeo Alfetta. In 1995, Detroit Diesel Corporation bought VM Motori; Detroit Diesel (and VM) then became part of the DaimlerChrysler Group in 2000. Penske Corporation eventually purchased all of VM Motori from DaimlerChrysler, and then sold half of it to General Motors to form a GM/Penske joint venture agreement. Fiat then purchased the other 50% stake from Penske, resulting in a 50:50 joint venture between GM and the Fiat Group. And now it's just Fiat. Got it? Good. Don't worry, my head hurts too.
Here’s the bottom line – as soon as possible, go drive an EcoDiesel Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ram 1500. Leave your preconceived notions of clanky, smokey diesels of old behind, as these modern marvels are quiet in-cab (yet distinctively diesel up close from the outside), clean, feel “punchy” due to the torque, and get great fuel economy.