Chrysler CEO Suggests a 300 Hybrid Will Launch by 2013

Chrysler has shied away from hybrid vehicles after emerging from bankruptcy last year, but it appears that won’t be the case for much longer. In fact, a Chrysler 300 hybrid may be added to the company’s portfolio within the next two years.

In a recent interview with Automotive News, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated the company will “offer a hybrid variant of the 300 equipped with an eight-speed automatic in 2013.” Little else is known about the vehicle, other than it will likely use Chrysler’s new ZF-licensed eight-speed transmission, which has long said to be compatible with hybrid drivelines.

Although this is Chrysler’s first new production hybrid in quite some time, it isn’t the automaker’s first foray into the HEV playing field. Using a licensed form of General Motors’ two-mode hybrid transmission, Chrysler briefly offered its Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs as hybrids before scrapping both model lines in 2009. The automaker had also been working on installing a similar system into a light-duty Dodge Ram pickup, but ultimately elected only to build a handful of plug-in electric Ram test vehicles for a project concocted with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Chrysler is not alone in adding hybrid power to its large luxury sedan. Lexus has offered the hybrid GS450h since 2005, Audi recently announced a hybrid version of its latest A6 sedan,and it’s very likely that BMW is also readying an ActiveHybrid version of its 5-Series range.

There’s no word yet on either pricing or content levels for the 300 Hybrid, but don’t be surprised if this isn’t the first and last hybrid offering the folks in Auburn Hills have ready for consumption in the near future.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

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