Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chrysler Lineup: All-Hybrid Some Day, Says Press

Edmunds Inside Blogline - Taking a page from the playbook he used at Toyota, Chrysler Vice Chairman Jim Press said Monday that every vehicle the company makes will eventually be hybrid-powered.

Press, who was head of Toyota's U.S. sales and marketing arm and its Washington, D.C., governmental unit before being lured to Chrysler late last year, made the remark while talking to reporters at the Levin Institute in New York.

Press offered no timetable, but said the U.S. government's mandate to increase fleetwide fuel economy by 40 percent by 2020 is a big hurdle that hybrid technology can help Chrysler overcome.

According to the Popular Mechanics report on Press’s statement, it was the first by a major auto executive to openly embrace hybrid technology as an across-the-board sea change for all vehicles in a company lineup.

While at Toyota, Press often said the Japanese automaker and leading hybrid proponent intended to be able to put hybrid systems in all of its models if it saw market demand.

Press, who joined Chrysler after 37 years at Toyota, also said he hopes to build and sell as many Chrysler-branded products outside North America as are sold within the U.S. (about 2.7 million units last year).

Chrysler's offshore sales now account for just a small part of its business.

Chrysler's first hybrid systems will be used in the 2008 Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen SUVs to be introduced later this year.

Scott Doggett, Contributor

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