Chrysler Dropping AWD From Sebring, Avenger And Caliber

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
chrysler dropping awd from sebring avenger and caliber

No major surprises here, as ChryCo’s AWD option box is ticked on fewer than five percent of Caliber purchases and even less often on Avengbrings. “For the Avenger, the take rate was 1.5% for 2008, and for the Sebring it was at 0.7%.” Chrysler spokesman Jiyan Cadiz tells Ward’sAuto. “So obviously the bottom line is people want fuel economy, and the AWD modules are not profitable for us. That’s something we can get rid of as we’re consolidating products and finding what’s profitable.” And while we wish Chrysler the best of luck in their hunt for “what’s profitable,” AWD supplier BorgWarner has a case of sour grapes for Chrysler. “What we’re seeing in terms of market forecasting is that (AWD) in the B-, C- and D-segments is growing globally,” say BorgWarner’s product business director, Chris Cook, who calls Chrysler’s move an “aberration.” And Cook blames Chrysler’s Jim Press, lately of ToMoCo. “Press comes from Toyota (Motor Corp.), where they don’t have AWD on a lot of vehicles (in those segments),” Cook says. “So (the decision) was philosophical.” Or rational. Anyone who wants an AWD Caliber can always spring for a Jeep Compass, and AWD has always been an under-advertised afterthought on the Sebring and Avenger. In fact, Press’s Toyota roots don’t make him “anti-AWD.” Toyota’s partial ownership of Subaru proves that a dedicated AWD-peddling niche brand (hello, Jeep) allows the mainstream brand to focus on efficiency and affordability. And with CAFE bumps looming, offering AWD on every model “because you can” makes less and less sense every day.

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4 of 15 comments
  • Willbodine Willbodine on Oct 20, 2008

    Roger that, Michael Ayoub. I vaguely remember the awd for the Caliber, but as an option for Avenger/Sebring, that's news to moi. Yesterday's news.

  • Areitu Areitu on Oct 20, 2008

    They cancelled a car I didn't know existed!

  • Wolven Wolven on Oct 20, 2008

    Based on the low "take rates", apparently the buying public are brighter than the automakers thought... i.e. Why should you add a bunch of weight and complexity to swap around which SINGLE wheel is driving the car? That's just stupid.

  • Gary Read Gary Read on May 01, 2009

    Very wrong Wolven. I have an AWD Caliber and it is the most sure footed AWD or 4WD vehicle I have ever driven. It became especially clear to me after heavy rains iced over roads last year. I was climbing grades effortlessly with no indication of wheel slippage while FWD and 4WD vehicles were unable to climb the same grades with multiple tries and pushing their luck on speedy approaches. I agree with other writers - AWD was shamefully under advertised. For someone who is in to outdoor sports but doesn't care for gas guzzling SUVs the AWD Caliber hits the sweet spot in balancing between economy, capacity, and capability. I get 23mpg in town and 27+mpg on hiway trips. Mountain bike fits inside with the wheels on. The Caliber is not an off road vehicle but the AWD Caliber gets me effortlessly over any sorry excuse for a road in ANY weather conditions. I have a unique gem and will keep it until teleportation becomes feasible!