PORTLAND, Maine — With sales of mid- and full-sized SUVs plummeting, Chrysler LLC hopes that Two Mode Hemi hybrid versions of the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango will inject the SUVs with new life this fall.
Chrysler's pitch will be simple: Buy a hybrid Aspen or Durango, and you will save roughly 200 gallons of gasoline a year because of 25 percent estimated improvement in fuel economy. With gasoline at about $4 a gallon, that means saving about $800.
That savings, coupled with an $1,800 tax credit, means that in about 27 months, customers should pay back the roughly $3,600 price premium they will pay for the green technology.
The Durango hybrid is priced at $45,340 and the Aspen at $45,570; both prices include shipping.
The Durango and Aspen could use a boost. Durango sales have plunged 48.4 percent for the first half of 2008. Aspen sales actually have increased — by 3.6 percent — but the Aspen was a new model in 2007.