First Cadillac revealed it was canceling its V8 program and now Chrysler has announced that its legendary Hemi V8 engine doesn’t have a bright future. Rising oil prices and toughening fuel economy standards is causing carmakers around the world to rethink their powertrain options, and the future is looking low displacement and hybrid.

"The Hemi is not the powertrain of the future," Chrysler co-president Jim Press told reporters from Automotive News during a recent interview. Young people don’t associate the ‘HEMI’ name with performance in the same way that their parents may have, Press explained. The design, after all, dates back to the 1950s and was made popular during the muscle car days of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Today’s performance, and more importantly, future performance will come from cars with compact engines and forced induction technology as well as advanced hybrids and all-electric vehicles. Chrysler has already given us a preview of that future with its Dodge ZEO concept sports car, which featured a 268hp electric motor and is capable of accelerating to 60moh from rest in less than six seconds – similar performance to the HEMI.

All hope isn’t lost for HEMI fans. Updates such as cylinder deactivation and possibly direct injection will squeeze a few more years out of the classic V8 but their place in the automotive world will be constantly shrinking. Having grown up with the phrase "there's no replacement for displacement" this will be a sad state of affairs for a number of us at MotorAuthority.