Facing high gas prices, Chrysler slashes HEMI production

By Joel Arellano | September 17, 2006
DaimlerChrysler’ Chrysler Group has been forced to cut production of its HEMI engine by 300 units per day, from 1600 to 1300, a production cut of nearly 20%.The cause of the cut? Falling sales of light trucks, mainly due to rising gas prices, has forced many people to seek more fuel efficient alternatives. None of the light trucks and SUVs that are offered by the Chrysler Group with either of the V8 engines exceed 20mpg highway according to the EPA. The Dodge Durango has suffered the most, posting a 41% drop in sales year-to-date compared to 2005. Production of the base 4.7L V8 found in these vehicles has also been scaled back due to faltering demand. This move should not come as a huge surprise given that demand for inefficient trucks and SUVs has been dropping for some time. The segment had long been a cash cow for domestic automakers before taking a serious blow from rising gas prices that now near or exceed $3/gallon depending on the state. However, the engine has been a commercial success for the company and continues to be found in a wide range of vehicles, including the highly popular Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, and Chrysler 300C. Our take? Boost the HEMI with a hybrid motor ala Honda’s hybrids with only a slight price increase and watch enthusiast flock back. Via Detroit News
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