Chrysler to Build Two-Mode Hybrid, Diesel Minivans

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
chrysler to build two mode hybrid diesel minivans

Why? Non-sales of GM's two-mode hybrid SUVs and pickup have thoroughly discredited the system as an expensive affectation. And although oil burners' adherents couldn't be more rabid if they were bitten by a foaming fox, there's little evidence to suggest that mainstream consumers want to pay the estimated $2k premium for a diesel powerpant AND a buck more per gallon at the pump. Still, what do I know? The Windsor Star says it's two-mode speed ahead for the former Daimler division. "J.D. Power reports that Chrysler intends to put its two-mode hybrid system in the Grand Caravan starting next year. Chrysler will start offering the same system in its Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs next month, at prices starting about $5,000 less than the GM vehicles." Yes, well, that's $4k MORE than a gas version, BEFORE discounts. [NB: June sales reveal that the Durango's dead and the Aspen is deaderer.] As for the re-badged Caravan soon-to-be-unknown as the VW Routan, "Volkswagen could go in two directions… either by offering one of its own four-cylinder diesel engines, which would offer excellent fuel economy but be considered rather underpowered compared to gasoline-powered minivans, or by offering the three-litre Mercedes diesel that Chrysler is currently offering as an option in its Grand Cherokee." Decisions, decisions…

Join the conversation
4 of 32 comments
  • RedStapler RedStapler on Jul 15, 2008
    Paul Niedermeyer It won’t be the 2.8 VM four cylinder as used in Europe. There is no program to make that engine US compliant, which is very expensive. It would either be the VW 2.0 four, which makes up to 170hp in Europe, or the MB V6. Both are US compliant. So it becomes of question of what is cheaper: Putting a new drive train into the existing platform or getting the already done Euro spec' 2.8 to meet 2010 US emissions. Could be doable with a DPF and Urea tank. I would not want one in the 1st model year. The 2005 diesel KJs are notorious for eating their torque converters.

  • INeon INeon on Jul 15, 2008

    This minivan, in Town & Country trim is exactly what Chrysler needs. They're beautiful vehicles, and if this system is refined enough in-city and effortless while cruising, it'll be a knock-out. Could put the MB R320CDI to rest. Go on, Chrysler. Do a Challenger next.

  • Jberger Jberger on Jul 15, 2008

    I'd buy a Diesel T&C as long as I knew the parent company would be around long enough for me to really put some miles on it. The minivan market needs something like this, I think Nissan recently announced they would be releasing a new small minivan (smaller than the quest) with a turbo diesel, but I can't find the link right now. Diesel will not be more expensive than gas forever, it's the new diesel regs that have boosted the price and once more refineries come up to speed, the price should come back down below gas.

  • Lynn Ellsworth Lynn Ellsworth on Jul 16, 2008
    I have yet to hear a believable explanation of the supply and demand cause and effect here. The important word above is "here". U.S. oil demand has decreased a tiny amount in the past few months but demand in Brazil, Russia, China, India, Indonesia, etc has increased a great deal in the past several years. We have to start thinking as residents of Earth and not just "here" the U.S. Incidently, if we start drilling for oil along "our" coast and if we find oil in 5 years or so, guess what? The oil will just be lumped in with oil pumped out of Earth from all oil fields and the oil will go to the highest bidder on Earth. Supply and Demand and patriotism have no connection.