Chrysler Decides Hybrid Cars Might Be Worth Looking Into

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Chrysler is strangely intrigued by those "hybrid" cars you keep hearing about these days. And by cars, we mostly mean trucks and SUVs, as that's all Chrysler will be offering any time soon. Because… well, we're not actually sure why. The Detroit Free Press reports that this summer's launch of the two-mode Hybrid Aspen and Durango SUVs has Chrysler curiously optimistic about its chances in the hybrid game. Up next will be hybrid versions of the Ram, employing the same two-mode hybrid Hemi as the Aspen/Durango. And come to think of it, Chrysler doesn't really have any other hybrid options in its bag of tricks (which is mostly full of unbelievably cheap interior plastics). Although the Aspen/Durango launch has Chrysler saying it is also considering making hybrid versions of the Journey CUV and Avenger sedan, one can't help but wonder what Chrysler would put under the hood of such whips. Is there a mysterious non-V8 hybrid drivetrain hiding somewhere in Auburn Hills? If so, wouldn't we be hearing more about it, given the disappointing sales of two-mode V8's by GM? Or is the truth really that Chrysler overpaid for its hugely expensive two-mode V8, and can't afford to develop a hybrid that might get better than 30mpg? Either way, when your offerings make GM's current lineup of hybrids look fresh and innovative by comparison, you know you're in trouble.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Dean Dean on May 30, 2008

    yankinwaoz: you hit it on the head. Your proposal is absolutely reasonable, but the marketing department can't sell it. Or at least they don't believe that they can. Someday the horsepower war will come to an end. It will take an automaker with some stones to do it, though.

  • The Luigiian The Luigiian on May 31, 2008

    All right TTAC, I'd like your opinion. I'm looking at pickups (think they're awesome) and like the Ram Hybrid. Nicest lookin' truck on the domestic market right now. I'd like to ask a question (I think it's on topic). I think we can all agree around these estimates on the Ram: -Around 21 mpg fuel economy overall (same as Chevy Tahoe, which weighs more) -Really powerful 5.7 HEMI -Priced base ~38K (maybe, current Ram HEMI crew retails at ~30K) -Huge markdowns on fullsize pickups (didn't Autoblog say $13K off MSRP for a $32K HEMI crew, so it cost around $19,995?) Assuming then that Chrysler lasts long enough to bring the Dodge to the market (doubtful), is it possible that a Ram base hybrid could cost consumers as little as $25K out the door? And would that then be a reasonable consideration, say, for a family looking for an Accord or Camry? After all, their V6s get around 21 mpg too. I don't like the way it's looking for Chrysler--those prices are just too low for the company to survive any longer--but it sounds like this Ram might be a decent truck. What's your opinion?

  • Nick Nick on May 31, 2008
    -Huge markdowns on fullsize pickups (didn’t Autoblog say $13K off MSRP for a $32K HEMI crew, so it cost around $19,995?) They are offering an advertised rebate of $12Gs around here, so you can probably easily get $13k off, or more, with some hard bargaining.
  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Jun 01, 2008
    The consumer truck industry seems to have painted itself into a corner by establishing a meaningless metric as a way to sell itself.... And that is exactly the problem. Until America weans itself from the bigger and more is always better way of thinking, nothing is going to change. This moronic, supersized, McMansion way of thinking has been ingrained into us from or first birthday. What a big boy/girl you are!! Somebody please end this Jabba the Hut upbringing, please!