Driver's News: April 10, 2006 by TCC Team
New Mazda CX-9, Audi TT, Dodge Durango and more.
No Silver Bullet for Clean Cars, Expert Says
by TCC Team (4/4/2006)
SAE speaker says multiple powerplants possible.
DaimlerChrysler AG’s top brass has
never been big fans of hybrid vehicles because the company’s executives believe
that diesel engines offer a better and less expensive way to meeting rising
demand for better fuel efficiency.
The public’s generally favorable
perception of hybrids has given the green machines an important boost, though,
despite the technology’s shortcomings, DaimlerChrysler officials say. And that’s
why the company is bowing to market forces and is now committed to bringing out
a new hybrid SUV within the next couple of years. The Chrysler Group confirmed
last week it plans to offer a hybrid version of the Dodge Durango starting in
Frank Klegon, Chrysler Group
executive vice president of product development, said the new package will boost
the fuel economy of the
“The advanced two-mode hybrid
system, which we will first offer in the Dodge Durango, leapfrogs traditional
hybrid design by improving fuel economy and performance at higher speeds as well
as city driving cycles,” said Klegon.
With an electrically variable
transmission, including two electric motors and two full hybrid modes of
operation, the drive system improves fuel economy by operating at low speeds
around town and at higher speeds on highways, he said.
Larry Lyons, Chrysler Group vice
president in charge of small-car engineering, also said that DaimlerChrysler is
looking at ways of packaging a hybrid system into smaller vehicles such as the
Jeep Compass. However, the Chrysler Group has not yet decided whether it will
actually build a smaller hybrid, he said. The project has gotten a lot of
attention, however, he said.
Meanwhile Chrysler Group engineers
have modified the floor, second-row seats, and electrical system of the 2007
George Murphy, the Chrysler Group’s senior vice president for global brand marketing, said the changes in the interior were carried out along with a significant changes to the exterior that will give the 2007
Murphy also the 2007 Dodge
Sales of the latest
Joe Eberhardt, Chrysler Group executive vice president for sales and marketing, insisted last week that he did not believe the shift out of the mid-size sport-utility vehicle was permanent. The segment still attracts plenty of buyers but hasn’t had a lot of new products lately, which has served to feed the decline in sales, he said.