Chrysler LLC says Goodbye to the AWD Option

Chrysler SebringDodge AvengerDodge Caliber
The Chrysler Sebring along with its twin brother from Dodge, the Avenger, will no longer have the all-wheel-drive option on their list of features. The compact Dodge Caliber will suffer the same fate. First introduced in late 2007 to the Sebring and Avenger, the feature never really caught on with customers.

“For the Avenger, the take rate was 1.5% for 2008, and for the Sebring it was at 0.7%.” Chrysler spokesperson Jyian Cadiz says. “So obviously the bottom line is people want fuel economy, and the AWD modules are not profitable for us. That’s something we can get rid of as we’re consolidating products and finding what’s profitable.”

According to Ward's Auto sales data, the Caliber's MY 2008 AWD take rate was of 4.4% during April this year. Considering the current global economic recession and especially Chrysler's financial situation we cannot blame any measure destined to cut costs and keep Chrysler LLC afloat, but some voices in the industry disagree with the decision taken.

“What we’re seeing in terms of market forecasting is that (AWD) in the B, C and D segments is growing globally, so I think what we’re seeing at Chrysler is not indicative of what the market forecast is showing,” Chris Cook, product business director for BorgWarner Inc., said.

Of course, taking into account that BorgWarner Inc. is “incidentally” Chrysler's supplier for the all-wheel-drive system, Mr. Cook's opinion might not exactly sound unbiased, especially since he also called the car maker's decision an “aberration.”

Another reason for Chrysler's decision might have been its line-up total estimated mileage, which (although also depending on take rates) would've been lowered by cars with all-wheel-drive. For example, the AWD 3.5 V6 Chrysler Sebring earns an EPA city/highway rating of 15/24 mpg, while the front-wheel-drive version outfitted with the same engine achieves a rating of 16/26 mpg.
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About the author: Alex Oagana
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Alex handled his first real steering wheel at the age of five (on a field) and started practicing "Scandinavian Flicks" at 14 (on non-public gravel roads). Following his time at the University of Journalism, he landed his first real job at the local franchise of Top Gear magazine a few years before Mircea (Panait). Not long after, Alex entered the New Media realm with the project.
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