Durango and Aspen Hybrids Killed

It appears that Chrysler will discontinue 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 are built will be shut down. Approximately 1,000 jobs will be lost. This news hits just one year after the Durango and Aspen Hybrids made their world debut at the 2007 Los Angeles International Auto Show.

According to reports, there have been about 3,000 pre-orders for the two hybrids. It is not clear at this time how many of those orders have been filled, and what will happen with those not yet delivered.

The hybrid system used in the Aspen and Durango featured the two-mode technology co-developed with General Motors and BMW. Both vehicles join an electric motor with Chrysler’s famed Hemi-V8 engine. The two-mode transmission used in the system is separately built in a plant in White Marsh, Md., which last year added a significant boost in square footage, hardware, and personnel, necessary to produce the new technology. Chrysler did not comment on the status of that facility.

The death of the Durango and Aspen hybrids has not changed Chrysler’s plan for more hybrid gas-electric vehicles. “More hybrids are coming in the future,” said Chrysler spokeswoman, Mary Beth Halprin, in an interview with the Detroit News. Chrysler has not signaled a disruption in plans to launch a hybrid Dodge Ram full-size pickup in 2010. That vehicle will share the same two-mode technology as the Aspen and Durango hybrids.

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  • ex-EV1 driver

    Good. Maybe, instead, they’ll focus on an electric or plug-in hybrid mini=van instead. Something that we really need.

  • Energy Saver

    Hello!!!!! If you work in a plant building large SUV’s, be prepared to lose your job. Don’t act surprised. I can’t believe anyone living in America is surprised about this.

    Foreign car companies are doing much better by putting hybrids in small cars that are extremely well built and reliable. What do American car companies do? We put our hybrids in our largest SUV’s hoping to satisfy some imagined sense of American power-hungry consumers that feel guilty for being that way. Meanwhile, the true American consumers are buying the foreign fuel economica cars. Hello!!!!

  • David

    Yep, doesn’t surprise me. This is why the car manufacturers of the USA will die. They just don’t understand that the future is the future, and if you don’t move in the direction of the future you will remain in the past, soon to be overran by competitors.

  • B. Nicholson

    Chrysler must change over to carbon fiber bodies, and own that technology instantly. Literally everyone at Chrysler should be working on that one, united goal. Chrysler must gamble that carbon fiber technology can be made inexpensively enough to appeal to automobile buyers soon enough to make the company successful and profitable. Lighter, more aerodynamic bodies mean smaller brake systems, engines and motors and much, much better fuel economy and performance. Aptera is the concept they must emulate, AND FAST.

  • mdensch

    I just don’t see how Chrysler can survive the current turmoil. Ford and GM at least have some hot products in the pipe line that could help turn things around for them in the future, but Chrysler has no such prospects and it’s doubtful that they have either the capital or the talent to develop such products.

    Jeep is still a strong and valuable brand name and can profitably meet the needs of a niche market. My bet is that Chrysler get purchased by another car maker who then guts the rest of the company and keeps Jeep. It has happened several times over Jeep’s history.

  • RKRB

    Well, maybe Chrysler figured the large car market was pretty dismal, and didn’t want to repeat GM’s experiences with big hybrid SUV’s. Chrysler was a part of our history, and they helped introduce people to smaller cars. Hope they can make it, but things pass.

    I guess American marketing superiority is a thing of the past (it’s hard to believe Americans are getting any more intelligent or less susceptible to marketing, given our political track record of the last 16 years).

    Forbes recently had an article suggesting the GM just quit making cars in the US altogether (except for a few segments). If Chrysler and GM merge, this means both companies. GM’s reputation, profitability, and market share are doing quite well in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the mid-East (even the Syrians drive GM Suburban taxis), and the only place they are just totally underwater (and will apparently be for some time) is in the US. Even many of their newer designs are being done overseas, so maybe it’s time for them to pull the plug on manufacturing in North America, according to Forbes.

  • Bill Cosworth

    Too bad the technolovy was amazing

    These big cars could tow 6k lbs
    and get better city millage than a toytoa camery.

    And be much safer and more reliable.

    I think the people here dont see the function just looking that the bottom numbers or think big is bad.

    The joke is all these green folks still fly in airplanes and they are very large.

    If I was haling my family around I woulid want a large vehicle that would protect them. I was on the highway and saw what a ford exploer did to a prius. The people in the prius didnt surive and the ford was bairly damaged.

  • cindy

    Yes it was impressive technolgy.

    The problem is the companies cant afford to lose so much it was very costly to produce.

    The all have to steamline now.

    I wish Ford GM amd Dodge the best.

    I own a toyota now but my next car will be american because I hate to see our great country get worse.

  • Will S

    Yes, the Big 3 thought they could greenwash themselves with big SUV hybrids; these vehicles are only ‘needed’ by a tiny percentage of the population. And the safety issue has be shown to be a myth; SUVs occupants are more likely to die than passengers in automobiles. The Civic was rated as the safest vehicle overall!

    But there are always those who say, “I need to haul my gas-guzzling “, without thinking of why Bush said, “America is addicted to oil”.

  • Paul Rivers

    There’s always someone who pops up in these threads with some inane, non-nonsensical comments “These cars…get better city millage than a toytoa camery…I was on the highway and saw what a ford exploer did to a prius.”

    I would just like to point out to anyone new to reading these comments that this kind of commenter is always, always full of crap. There claim of having “seen an accident” isn’t based in reality any more than their claim that a Durango (consumer reports rated it “average” for reliability, which I believe is a step up from last year) would be more reliable than a Camry Hybrid (rated Much Better Than Average).

  • nycs

    I’m interested to know if Chrysler will continue to make normal Durangos and Aspens. If they were going to cease producing all of these ridiculous monsters, this would make sense. But I’m sure they’re just ceasing production of the only models that make a little sense… the hybrids.
    People argue that hybrids don’t make economic sense… but SUVs never made any economic sense to any buyer. They almost always cost more than cars, station wagons, or minivans, but people bought them. SUV buyers should be forced to pay for the hybrid technology if they want that “sporty image.”
    And two myths I’d like to dispel about SUVs. I used to work for 3 years investigating fatal and near fatal motor vehicle incidents (not accidents…because accidents are accidental..stupidity is not). During that time, I have seen the aftermath of hundreds of motor vehicle collisions. SUVs not only cause more damage to other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and property, but they also cause severe injury to their occupants (or those who occupied them just before collision and are ejected). They flip over. Their roofs crush or shear off (along with the upper bodies of occupants… They hit with 2-3 times the momentum of cars (since they are 2-3 times the mass). They are harder to stop, and steer in emergency situations… They obscure the visibility of other drivers, and of their own drivers… (so much so that they back over their own kids).
    And second, it’s funny how SUV advertisers love to show them in these once pristine environments. It’s the SUVs that are major contributing to the destruction of the great outdoors… cars and SUVs should be left on the roads. If you want to be wild and rugged, hike it from your parking spot.

  • TD


    Yes it seems like there are some Detroit planted shills which have recently popped up. Typical of Detroit spread fear, uncertainty and doubt to make up for a shocking lack of long term planning.

  • Elliot

    Im always sad to see people lose their jobs. The damage to the family and community is considerable. However, when you bank on this type of product (i.e. huge expensive SUV) then you are putting yourself at risk in these times.

    Why won’t somebody build something about the size of the previous gen Mazda MPV (smallish minivan) that is a hybrid. It should get in the mid 30’s in the city or better, and in that same ballpark on the highway. Big enough to haul around your 2 or 3 kids and some groceries, but not so large that you bringing the whole soccer team with you. Somewhat stylish, priced in the mid 20’s to start, going up to mid 30’s for premium.

    There are tons of people who would buy such a vehicle….like me. Something suitable for your family that gets good gas mileage. The Toyota Highland Hybrid was almost that vehicle but it costs too much at the entry level (35-48 on the lot) and still tries to act like an SUV.

  • frank billette

    Actually hes right the City millage is the same as camery.

    The people here are so dumb I am an engineer and people need to understand physics.

    Its basic physics the larger and heaver the vehicle the safer it is.

    IF a Cadillac hits a Prius it will kill the folks in an instant.

    IF a Mack Truck hits a Cadillac the people in the Cadillac will be killed in an instant.

    No saftey number bla bla bla.

    When they crash cars they crash them into a wall so the force is equal to the size they start with. Small cars have gotton safer.

    But a 4 Star small car hits a 4 star large car. The people in the large car win.

    So guys stop trying to justify your small car purchase you one be as safe. Trust me I am an engineer.

  • ImAnEngineer

    Hey…are you an engineer? The fact that you say it so many times makes me doubt it.

    I drive carefully (aka the speed limit) and watch the other ****tards very carefully…therefore I’m not too worried about getting in an accident in my Civic Hybrid.

  • thomatt12

    Too bad they are not pusing thru with it… I was expecting to see a Durango hybrid car…

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