Chrysler Plans Return to Hybrids in 2013

Chrysler is working on a hybrid version of the Chrysler 300 sedan, according to a report in Automotive News. “We will offer a hybrid variant of the 300 equipped with an eight-speed automatic in 2013,” CEO Sergio Marchionne said last week at the Detroit auto show.

2011 Chrysler 300

2011 Chrysler 300

The most fuel efficient of the current Chrysler 300 models, equipped with 2.7-liter 178-horsepower V6 engine, provides 18 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway. Rising fuel economy mandates will require automakers to deploy gas-electric hybrid technology on a broad range of vehicles—simultaneously pushing to higher levels of efficiency with new models and mitigating penalties associated with gas-guzzling vehicles.

In 2008, the company discontinued the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen full-sized hybrids just two months after both vehicles began full-scale production. A company press release stated, “In response to the continuing global economic slowdown and auto industry contraction, as well as the market’s continuing movement toward smaller vehicles, Chrysler is announcing…the pull-ahead of the closure of the Newark, Del. Assembly Plant.” On Dec. 31, 2008, the plants where both the hybrid and non-hybrid versions of these two models were built was shut down.

At the time, Chrysler spokeswoman, Mary Beth Halprin, said, “More hybrids are coming in the future,” referring to long-established plans (at that time) for Chrysler to produce a hybrid gas-electric version of the Dodge Ram pickup. The company reiterated its commitment to the Ram Hybrid in early 2009—only to abandoned the project in March 2010. Three months later, the company announced plans for a small test fleet of Dodge Ram plug-in hybrid pickups—backed by a $48 million Department of Energy grant.

After years of developing gas-electric technology, Chrysler certainly has access to the hardware and other systems necessary to produce hybrids. Yet, Chrysler is perhaps the furthest behind on the electrification of the vehicle. Marchionne’s statement suggests the company is prepared to get back on track. Hybrids could play an important role in meeting Chrysler’s fuel efficiency goals. At the 2010 Automotive News Detroit Green Car Conference last week, Paulo Ferrero, Chrysler’s senior vice president for powertrain, targeted a 25 percent overall fleet average fuel economy improvement for Chrysler’s fleet by 2014.

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  • Robert Acree

    I’ll believe it when I see it. Chrysler is so far down on my naughty list at this point. I honestly wish that they would have just dissolved into nothing.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Would someone just bury Chrysler already? This company should have never been saved from this last bankruptcy. They don’t field vehicles that are needed for tomorrow. I mean Jeep has done well, but it won’t when gas prices head towards $4 or $5 a gallon.

    Just pull the plug on Chrysler.

  • Scott Z

    I must admit during the whole bail out for GM and Chrysler I was hoping that the government would look at both companies financial records and help the one that is healthier while letting the other die. I am sure that Chrysler would have been the departed. They would really need to make some waves to have me even consider their products.

  • Anonymous

    This is the same government that can’t control it’s own spending ! Currently losing $4.16B PER DAY!

    Chrysler will make it only if our capitalist system works- build somehting worth buying. Period. If they don’t they must die.

    Those who witlessly bad-mouth Chrysler based on ignorance or hearsay are dolts.

  • vbstenswick

    I have a suggestion that is not elegant, but I think would sell well. Use part of the pickup truck bed for lead-acid batteries from Firefly Energy for a plug-in hybrid. They would still get the $7500 tax credit, but would only use $1000 worth of batteries.

  • steve poppitz

    I think that the Phoenix only rises from the ashes once.Expect to watch their big stupid SUV’s die on the vine, while Fiat starts selling at Chrysler dealerships all over the country. And certainly expect JEEP ( Just Empty Every Pocket ) to fold up soon.They had better have a break thru FUEL EFFICIENT design soon, or Fiat will start closing the least desirable dealerships and keeping the good ones. I’d expect when that is about to happen you will see a big merger like Nissan-Renault to happen.That being said; “Good luck Chrysler ! Hope you make it.”

  • Capt. Concernicus

    Anyone that thinks Chrysler should survive just because it’s an American company should really take a look…a real LONG look at it’s past prouducts and financial records.

    Because if they have and still can’t see the light then I feel bad for those people.

  • tapra1

    Chrysler is perhaps the furthest behind on the electrification of the vehicle. Marchionne’s statement suggests the company is prepared to get back on track.Host News

  • jones22

    I am glad to see that Chrysler going to the hybrid. The idea behind this is so good. Chrysler will benefit so much from this. yaz side effects