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3 Reasons Why Fiat-Chrysler Cannot Build A Hybrid As Good As The Toyota Prius

Ever wonder why the Fiat-Chrysler never had much of a hybrid line up? Here are 3 reasons they will not build a hybrid as good as Prius

In 2009 Dodge/Chrysler released the Durango/Aspen hybrid. It was only on sale for one model year and then removed off the market. What happened to it? The legend says that the economy was in serious turmoil. Others say the car company was not capable of making a decent vehicle.

Whatever the reason is for them dropping their plans, they have not shown much interest in the market since. Even with current plans for a new Durango hybrid are not making headlines.

I have three other solid reasons that I believe Fiat-Chrysler should not make hybrids and scrap the game altogether. Of course, these are my professional opinions, but after 15 years in this industry, I think I know what I am talking about.

Fiat-Chrysler Can Only Build Muscle Cars/Gas Guzzlers
If we take a look at the vehicle line up from Fiat-Chrysler, we can see where this company has placed emphasis. Large trucks, powerful SUVs, and high-performance muscle cars. The only reason the Fiat small car line exists with this company is to make sure they hit the CAFE ratings they need.

Fiat-Chrysler, in my opinion, has done some very silly things. For example, re-branding their Dodge pickup line to RAM trucks was a ridiculous idea. To make it even worse, the logo that you can see from the moon is far too oversized for the pickup.

RAM tailgate logo

The muscle cars they build are neat, but having multiple, hardcore fuel-guzzling cars does not exactly scream, change for the future. For heaven's sake, A stock Tesla S in Ludicrous mode will beat a Hellcat. Do not get me wrong, I love the sound of a throaty supercharged V-8 but, if we want to have stuff like that around in the future, we need to think of our future.

A business model that is focused on oil consumption does not seem very promising to me. Toyota knew what they were doing when they built Prius. They have been able to do many ventures that have landed them in all areas of the automotive industry. They can do it because they have built a future mindset that will help keep them sustainable for the long haul.

Fiat-Chrysler Vehicles Are Poorly Built
I have yet to see someone who can sell a 10-year-old Caravan with fewer miles for more than a 10-year-old Toyota Sienna. Go ahead; I will wait. You will not see that. You will not see that almost any Fiat-Chrysler product has a better resale value than any Toyota product. The reasoning is Fiat-Chrysler cars and trucks are not as well built.

I can hear some of you now, well the Diesel trucks are worth it. Yeah, well, that is because Cummins, who builds the engines, does not want their product to fail, so there is that. All the vehicles that Fiat-Chrysler has been making simple are not designed well enough. The electronics are junk, the fit and finish of the products are less than satisfactory, and they do not last.

1990 beat up white dodge caravan

I could take a 15-year-old Toyota Prius with 200,000 miles on it, buy it sight unseen and then drive it for 12 hours home and still sell it for more than a Fiat-Chrysler product. Oh wait, I did do that. Do you know why I felt confident in Prius? Because it is built to outlast a zombie apocalypse after a nuclear war.

I am sorry, but I have yet to find a decent Fiat-Chrysler product that can withstand the test of time and resale value and do not try and bring up MOPAR muscle car restorations, those cars are collector's items. The only reason people want them again is that they had them as kids. Plus, we are not talking about older cars; this is Fiat-Chrysler, not the glory days.

If Fiat-Chrysler did build a full line up of hybrids, I could bet you my life savings and my firstborn child; they would have warranty claims that would be through the roof. Fiat-Chrysler already has had a poor track record with good initial quality, and you know how I feel about longevity.

Fiat-Chrysler Does Not Believe In Hybrid Technology
The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the best player that Fiat-Chrysler has in the game. They are dabbling around with the notion of other hybrid options in the "e-torque" realm; they are not serious about hybrids.

I do not think that Fiat-Chrysler is a forward-thinking company. I think they are banking on gasoline being the only option for the future of transportation. If that were the case, then why has almost every other carmaker in the world changed its strategy to include hybrid or electric vehicles? Case in point, they do not care.

If you want a hybrid to get one from a company that has an excellent track record in building them, if you're going to stay behind the times, choose Fiat-Chrysler. Maybe while you are at it, grow a mullet.

That is all for today. I look forward to seeing you in the next story. 3 Reasons To Get Your Grad A Toyota Prius For College.

Watch this Toyota Prius truck with a nice little bed and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive news analysis.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.


Bruce Anderson (not verified)    May 23, 2020 - 5:09PM

I think this Peter Neilson is not very bright, I have have 15 to 20 mopars since 1964, and most and I said most have been very good cars and trucks

Mark (not verified)    May 23, 2020 - 9:45PM

"Fiat-Chrysler Vehicles Are Poorly Built"
This has been true since 1973. My dad bought a '77 Dodge Aspen because Chrysler was a client. He swore that it only bought him visiting privileges at the dealer.
Lee Iacocca called my dad to lobby for more credit (my dad was a banker) during their bailout days and my dad noted that his Aspen was a POS. Iacocca promised to send hima new K car but my dad said no and bought a Honda.

Ken Bashara (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 9:45AM

I would never sink so low to buy a foreign car in the 1st place, 2nd if u ever been in Prius its not the most comfortable car or safest. I've driven Mopar products my whole life new & used & usual maintenance was needed. Driving a 2005 T&C have over 221k on it & still runs great.

Thad (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 10:47AM

I have owned 8 Chrysler products, 7 built since the 90s, what I have learned has been it is more about care of the vehicles. I had 2 grand Cherokee from 2003, one I bought 1 year old, the other 10 years later. The second one was not as well cared for and was a disaster. But the owner viewed it as cheap and troublesome, so treated it that way. I haven't had any more issues with a Chrysler product than a Toyota. But I can say I have had brutal disasters with BMW cars. Want to talk about problem cars. And those were well cared for.

Ernest (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 11:27AM

Refresh my memory, how many plug-in hybrid minivans does Toyota currently offer?
Only FCA was forward thinking enough to manufacture a plug in hybrid van. Toyota certainly could have, but they elected not to. Tesla will be next with a BEV van. Then probably Hyundai. Toyota is way way behind the curve regarding full electrification.

Ernest (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 11:29AM

Refresh my memory, how many plug-in hybrid minivans does Toyota currently offer?
Only FCA was forward thinking enough to manufacture a plug in hybrid van. Toyota certainly could have, but they elected not to. Tesla will be next with a BEV van. Then probably Hyundai. Toyota is way way behind the curve regarding full electrification.

Mark Benninger (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 1:10PM

Me think ye doth protest too much... Raggin on FCA cuz they don't want to lose money on making hybrids their customers won't buy.

Vic (not verified)    May 24, 2020 - 2:36PM

"Pacifica Hybrid is the best player that Fiat-Chrysler has in the game" It's the only game in town when it comes to Hybrid minivans. I wish Toyota would up their game there. I will look at rav4 prime, but till they do highlander prime, Pacifica Hybrid is it.

I also like the fact that Waymo is using them for autonomous project, and hoping that tech is avail to consumers soon

FRED L. (not verified)    May 25, 2020 - 4:41AM

Good article. I leaned about Fiat Chrysler build quality and parts quality the hard way after investing in 6 used Grand Caravans for my transport business in 2016. I was at the mechanic's shop everyday fixing at least one of them. I lost so much money on repairing them that I had to shut down my business partly due to the repair costs. Their parts have planned obsolescence. Meanwhile I saw a competitor replacing Dodge Grand Caravans with old Toyota Siennas. I would love to buy a hybrid minivan but look after watching what Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid owners have gone through on YouTube, I won't make that mistake again. FCA can keep building gas guzzlers for the low iq crowd.

Vladimir (not verified)    May 25, 2020 - 11:15AM

I drive Pacifica hybrid 2017. Odo shows 159k kms. Doing Über every day. So far no problems. Love the car. Previously owned two grand caravans. Just minor issues with those. I find this article biased.

Braden (not verified)    May 25, 2020 - 11:53AM

Where are you getting your info? I've had four Chryslers and they all lasted 200k. My current V6 averaged 33mpg on a trip that crossed the continental divide twice. The Prius is great, but only as a model that pushed the envelope to develop the technology. It's not practical in many parts of the country. (You can get a ticket for impeding traffic if you don't have the umph to get over a mountain pass.) Chrysler has always been one of the last to implement new tech - they wait for everyone to make the mistakes and then produce something better. Maybe do some research on information that opposes your opinion, you'll learn a lot. Aka real research.

Gary (not verified)    June 9, 2021 - 1:03PM

In reply to by Braden (not verified)

I bought my 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager new and still have it with 425.000+ miles. It still has the original engine which has never had any major work done on it. About 30.000 miles of it were on mountain gravel roads.

Wjcraig78 (not verified)    July 28, 2021 - 6:19PM

Your absolutely right. Chrysler Fiat is junk. At 7-9 years old every Chrysler product I bought was done, worthless not even worth trade in. My company uses Caravans before they are eight years old they are replaced and they can afford it. I have had 10-15 year old Fords and Chevys that have kept right on hauling away. Never will I buy a new Chrysler product