Chrysler’s Future: Major overhaul to lineup – more hybrids and diesels

A lot is going on at the new Chrysler LLC. Executives are seriously studying the company’s lineup, which is currently loaded with large vehicles, and are hoping to kill off slow selling models and adding more diesels and hybrids. The company looking to eliminate models that overlap each other and is looking for new niches that it should possibly venture into.

At a meeting last week, CEO Robert Nardelli pointed out that the PT Cruiser is a very slow seller and a very outdated model. The outlook for the PT Cruiser now seems foggy and the model may be axed from Chrysler’s lineup altogether. Other slow selling models Chrysler is looking at is the Pacifica and the Dodge Magnum. The Sebring, which is also struggling in its segment, is expected to go under a major overhaul or maybe replaced with a new model.

Chrysler spokesman Mike Aberlich was quick to say that the company had not come to any final decisions on which models to eliminate.

Being hit by high gas prices Chrysler is also looking to expand its diesel and hybrid lineup. Chrysler recently announced a new engineering division called ENVI that will focus on designing and building electric and hybrid vehicles. Next year Chrysler will add the Aspen and Dodge Durango hybrids which are said to have a 40 percent increase in fuel-efficiency in the city and a 20 percent increase on the highway.

The company is also looking to add more diesels next year. Currently Chrysler sells the Jeep Grand Cherokee with a 3 liter diesel engine which gets 23 mpg on the highway.

According to Tom Libby, an industry analyst at Power Information Network, the Dodge Caliber, which is an improvement over the Neon, is still no match for the Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. He believes Chrysler seriously needs a competitive model in the small-car segment.


Source: The Detroit News

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