The First Hybrid Minivan Will Come From Toy.... err... Chrysler? ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: The First Hybrid Minivan Will Come From Toy.... err... Chrysler?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The First Hybrid Minivan Will Come From Toy.... err... Chrysler?

Hybrid minivans have been demanded by some consumers for years. They need the extra room, but don't want an SUV and they want better fuel economy. Hybrid minivans, available in Japan for years, they say, are the answer.

And Chrysler, not Toyota, may be the first to bring a hybrid minivan to market. Since Chrysler has yet to put a full hybrid of any kind on the road (their first two models, the Aspen and Durango are due out next month), that's pretty surprising.

Or is it? Chrysler, even more than the other big car companies, depends on sales of larger vehicles. They don't have as many smaller vehicles they can switch production to. So, perhaps a hybrid minivan from Chrysler makes all the sense in the world.

And given the high gas prices of today leading to such a huge reduction in truck and SUV sales, the sooner the better for the company.

Although, the hybrid minivan from Chrysler may not be the full hybrid you would expect. The two-mode system may not be suitable for a minivan, as it was developed with over-sized SUVs like the Aspen (and GM's Yukon and Tahoe) in mind. But a mild hybrid wouldn't really cut it. You only need to look at the sales numbers for the mild Vue, Aura and Malibu to figure that out.

According to JD Powers, a Dodge Grand Caravan is in the works with both a hybrid and a diesel engine models. J.D. Powers is predicting that 7.5% of the 2010 lineup could sell as hybrid models. That would be 12-13,000 units.

Toyota plans on having a Sierra Hybrid on the road by 2010. VW has plans for a diesel Routan, while Honda is likely to bring a diesel Odyssey minivan, as well.

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