Chrysler discontinues Durango and Aspen hybrids

Just months after their release, Chrysler cancels the Durango and Aspen hybrid programs.

Dodge Durango Hybrid
The Dodge Durango Hybrid (2008-2008) Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

Last week, we took a look at the Dodge Durango Hybrid and, surprisingly, we liked it. Its combination of hybrid tech and cabin tech had us thinking that Dodge/Chrysler had a winner on its hands. Perhaps, the bean counters at Chrysler didn't agree, because they've just pulled the plug on the Durango and Aspen Hybrids, a mere two months after the vehicles entered full-scale production.

The phrase "shooting yourself in the foot" comes to mind, but perhaps it's not that simple.

The news comes as part of a larger announcement that Chrysler is closing its Delaware factory where the conventional and hybrid versions of the Durango and Aspen are built, because of financial hardship and reduced demand. Chrysler stated that while there was significant demand for the full-size hybrid SUVs, there wasn't enough to keep the factory open. What Chrysler didn't state was if and how it would fulfill the 3,000 orders already placed for the vehicles.

"We can't disclose forward-looking production plans, whether we can meet them or not," company spokesman Todd Goyer said. "There are strong indicators that there's a market for full-size vehicles, so we look forward to the Dodge Ram coming and obviously we'll have further hybrids down the road."

So while the future of Chrysler's full-size hybrids is cloudy, perhaps there's a Ram Hybrid in the works.

Edit: We just got news that General Motors is killing the Tahoe and Suburban full-size SUVs, with which the Durango and Aspen share their hybrid powertrain. Perhaps this signals the end of the age of full-size SUVs.

 

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