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