Sergio Marchionne revealed that the hybrid Chrysler 300 sedan would be joined by a hybrid minivan in 2013 at the Windsor Assembly Plant celebration today. He also noted that a new compact car, replacing the Neon and filling a long-standing hole in the product line, would be the first to get a nine-speed automatic transmission when it arrives in April 2013.
The hybrid technology is, according to Marchionne, Chrysler’s own, which appears to run counter to earlier rumors that it would be based on that of Maserati. [Update: 20 pilot cars will get a hydraulic hybrid system. If this system is successful, it may be put into larger production.]
As hinted last week, the next generation of minivans will include a conventional van with a sliding door, a crossover, a full size front wheel drive sedan, and possibly other vehicles to sell under Fiat brands. All wheel drive appears to be returning to minivans, or to vehicles on the same architecture. All vehicles based on this architecture (at least for North America) are to be built in Windsor.
The Windsor plant runs three shifts, partly due to the closing of the St. Louis minivan plant. Currently, the Town & Country is the U.S.’s best selling minivan while the Grand Caravan is the world’s best seller.