Dodge Omni Engine
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The Dodge Omni held the position as the subcompact offering within the Chrysler Corp. line from 1977 to 1990. The car was configured as five-door hatchback with a transverse front-mounted engine powering the front wheels.
A similar vehicle was marketed under the Plymouth Horizon label. Both products were produced in American plants with early production at Belvidere, Illinois and later production at Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Dodge Omni line was equipped with a number of engines during the product lines existence. The basic vehicle within the line came equipped with a 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine developed by Simca. Simca, at the time, had contractual relationships with Chrysler to develop engines for the company’s compact and mid-sized markets.
Optional engines include a 1.7-liter engine produced by Volkswagen. This was a bit of a controversial move as one of the Dodge Omni’s chief rivals in the subcompact market with its Volkswagen Rabbit design.
Other options included a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. The carburetor version of the engine produced about 84 horsepower. An optional turbocharged version of the same engine could reach about 225 horsepower. This engine was developed and manufactured by Chrysler Corp. for its own vehicle line.
Updates to the Dodge Omni Line for the 1990 model year lead to the company renaming the products. The Dodge Shadow and the Plymouth Sundance vehicles were introduced to continue the Chrysler Corp. offerings within the subcompact market.
The Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon were a departure from the company’s previous subcompact strategies. Designing and building the cars in America was a change from the previous policy of importing foreign designed and built cars and marketing them in North America with a Dodge nameplate.
The cars were popular with Americans and sold well. The vehicles were also recognized for their design elements by publications such as “Motor Trend.” The products were introduced at a time Chrysler was enduring financial difficulties. The success of the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon helped indicate that the company had products America wanted and needed. The line helped Chrysler earn financial support from the U.S. Government which helped the company retain its position as a major American car maker.