CAFE Casualty: Chrysler Axes Imperial Plans

Chryslerimperialconcept717

Normally we’d lament the loss of a future rear-wheel-drive, large-engine sedan, but in the case of the Chrysler Imperial we’re not so sad to hear it won’t make it to production. Chrysler is saying that with new federal guidelines demanding much higher fuel economy than we have today, the thirsty Imperial won’t fit into its lineup.

Since the Imperial is one of the ugliest and least-practical Chrysler concepts we’ve seen in a while, we’re definitely not losing any sleep here. The company also says its next-generation RWD platform that underpins the new Dodge Challenger and future Charger and Chrysler 300 is still a go.

A Chrysler executive said it would’ve been “irresponsible” to bring the Imperial to market. Whatever the reason, we think the company is better off.

Chrysler Scraps Imperial Plans (Detroit Free Press)

Related
2006 Detroit Auto Show: Chrysler Imperial Concept (Cars.com)
Just a Bill: Senate to Raise Fuel Efficiency to 35 mpg (KickingTires)

By David Thomas | July 18, 2007 | Comments (11)

Comments 

Jay

Good move by Chrysler. They are not viewed as a high end brand anyway. Would have been a tough sell in the U.S. market like the VW Phaeton.

LM

I love how their poor plans in the first place are automatically blamed on government regulations. Typical. That's why I have no sympathy for their slime.

Perhaps they should focus on making higher-quality cars that get great mileage instead of wasting their research dollars on this.

Dan

Oh boo-hoo. Poor ole Chrysler can't make a car because of CAFE standards. What a load of bull. This is like GM claiming a while ago that they're going to cut their new RWD platform because of the CAFE standards. The reality is that they canceled it for another reason, and used this as an excuse. The government asked them to make a better car, they didn't want to, so they're just trying to punish us in order to manipulate public opinion to believe that higher fuel efficiency will make us suffer. Just like they did with emmisions standards in the '70s.
Maybe if they took all the money they spent lobbying against incresed fuel efficiency and spent it on R&D, they could meet the new standards.

Infosaur

Na-na, Na-na-NAA-na, Hey hey hey, Good-BYE!!

I still think Chyrsler needs a legitimate $50k, halo car. A luxury sedan wouldn't be bad. But this thing? Gah! Whoever was running Chrysler design in '05 needs to change his medication. Sadly, judging by the latest Sebring and the Liberty's facelift, I'm afraid Chrysler dealers will have to sell a lot of crap for a few more quarters.

J

Didn't those folks at Chrysler already admitted that the Sebring's design sucked?

Infosaur

yeah, Just stop selling the Sebring and convert 100% production to the Avenger. Then give us an Avenger convertable!

Tom L

The problem, I think, is Chrysler is trying to stay with a muscular, manly look. I once weighed in on a forum where people were bashing Lexus and Mercedes for looking either "too metro" or "to gay."

Chrysler design has been based on two things recently: the past and muscle. Which actually are two separate ideas:

The Past is the muscle car era and the 50s, regaling some of the "glory days" of the brand. This is where the name for the Imperial and the design and name for the Challenger come from.
Muscle is the actual look of the car. The car has to look and be built as non-metro sexual as possible, Chrysler thinks. That means tall lines, big engines and anything that sounds muscular (think "Hemi").

The problem is that anyone willing to shill out $60,000 on a car and adhere to the ideology of hyper-masculinity is either a teenager, a rap-artist or at, or near, the point of being insecure about some part of their masculinity. In other words, depending on how you view that last one, Chrysler's design does not target a big audience. And to make it worse: until recently Chrysler (as a brand itself) was seen as the mid-market brand from Mercedes. So Dodge was bottom-of-the-barrel, Chrysler was mid-level and Mercedes was cutting edge class. A view well supported by the 300 being built on a last generation Mercedes platform.

The Imperial itself suffers from just looking to old. The same can be said with pretty much all of Ford's Lincoln brand. It just looks old. Mainly its that the cars have WAY to much chrome, and in all the wrong places. Look at BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes: chrome is added tastefully, not wherever it can fit. Bling looks good in music videos: the sudden rise and even faster fall of the 300 sedan is a testament to how it can be a bad thing.
...

Boy, I've said two things now dissing rap haven't I? My music of choice is an easy target sometimes.... ergh. Must. Listen. To. The Chronic.

Vik

Tom L- in my opinion, the blast from the past and muscle car theme Chrysler has is helping them sell cars. People like the styling, not just rap artists, teens, and compensators. What Chrysler is doing is bringing back some of the passion and edgy styling that American automakers had in their heyday. Consumers appreciate that. Now if only they could match that with improvements in reliability, fit and finish, and interior styling, they would be golden.

As for the rise and fall of the 300, why not just admit it was AND IS a great success. Look at numbers from January 2006:

"Sales of the Chrysler 300 totaled 12,746 units, an increase of 26 percent over January 2005 sales of 10,112 units and continuing its leading position in the Luxury Large Car segment, eclipsing its closest competitor by a 2-to-1 margin. January marks the 20th month the Chrysler 300 has surpassed the 10,000 units sold mark since its world introduction in 2004."

and
"Since its introduction in March 2004, the Chrysler 300 has energized Chrysler sales; first quarter Chrysler brand sales increased 32 percent to 162,888 units compared to first quarter 2004 sales of 123,460 units."
http://www.caranddriver.com/dailyautoinsider/11061/chrysler-300-sales-push-chrysler-brand.html

Now where is your evidence of "the sudden rise and even faster fall of the 300 sedan"?

Tom L- Where did you get your info about the "fast fall" of the 300? Please post some evidence of the fast fall of this vehicle.

Vik

Tom L- yup, just as I thought. You pulled that out of where the sun don't shine.

Amuro Ray

Vik,

"As for the rise and fall of the 300, why not just admit it was AND IS a great success. Look at numbers from January 2006"

From your statment there, it actually contradicts what you are trying to support. Dude, need I remind you that we are more than half way in 2007, and yet, u were giving us 01/2006 figures???

The statement should have read, "why not just admit it was AND STILL WAS a great success." Unfortunately, this sententce doesn't make any sense now.

And to burst your bubble...the 300 is in a really bad shape right now. Using the BRAND NEW 2007 figures from June sales, and these are OFFICIAL #'s here:
2007/06 2006/06
300 11,796 9,140
2007 Total ('til June) 2006 Total ('til June)
300 62,995 73,135

So for the month of June, the # of 300 sales increased vs last year, BUT the problem is, the total sales of the 300 is actually off by more than 10K vehicles so far, when comparing the total # of sales b/n this and last year. This suggests that the 300 is (in a lighter case) running out of steam this year, or is a (in a heavier tone) "has been."

Let's also take a look at the 2006 #'s (June) too!
2006/06 2005/06
300 9,140 11,504
2006 Total ('til June) 2005 Total ('til June)
300 73,135 73,571

As you can see, by the middle of 2006, sales of the 300 has actually decreased as compared to 2005, and if you look at the # of total sales, it's actually sold less 300 then 2005. I wonder why you picked Jan 2006 and went no further. Wait a sec, I know why, and ya don't have to tell me :)

To further show that the 300 momentum had essentially halted by the end of Dec, 2006, look at the figures here:
2006 Total 2005 Total
300 143,647 144,068

Even though the # different weren't that big, the sales did decrease for FY2006.

Now if you compare 2005 VS 2004 total sales figures
2005 2004
300 144,068 112,930

There was, indeed, a pretty good increase in sales for the 300 (2004 was the year of introduction; 2003 was still the old 300M).

In short, 2004 > 2005: increase in sales, 2005 > 2006: decrease in sales, and 2006 > 2007: decrease in sales again (# 'til June).

So there's your evidence on evidence"the sudden rise and even faster fall of the 300 sedan." 1 year increase only, followed by 1.5 consecutives years of decreases. Sorry to burst your bubble, pal :)

It's simple to tell why Chrysler is in such a bad spot - just look at this link which shows vehicles that can give at or over 30 mpg from various manufacturers (using 2007 EPA's standard):

http://db.theautochannel.com/db/newcarbuyersguide/rank_car_criteria.php?stylename=Sedan&titleid=430428&trimid=20467,20466,18603,18200,19002,17784,18911,18890,20053,20052,20051,17982,17981,17980,19022,19020,20462,20460,20458,20456,18521,18519,17750,19021,18486,18480,19438,20461,20459,20457,20455,18916,18914,18520,19023,19522,19521,19520,18484,18478,18474,18132,18130,18626,21031,21509,21508,20430,20429,20874,20873,20871,18223,18222,18112,19117,19116,19115,19113,19112,19111,18066,17341,17340,16774,19267,19265,20030,21053,21052,18984,21030,18981,21029,18190,18189,18658,18656,18655

NOT 1 SINGLE VEHICLE IS FROM CHRYSLER!!! Now does that tell you why Chrylsers is in such a bad shape. And when 2008 std's has kicked in, plus the ever increasing gas prices, it'll be a very easy prediction of where Chrysler will go from now on...

David Stolz

I can see why this country is collapsing.Such ignorant comments about the Imperial.Well I guess in a nation who realected a man like Bush,and thinks fast food is 'a night out'and wear baseball caps and the 'slop'look,everywhere and allow bloated demeogoues to fry there minds on radio talk shows ,would not appreciate an innovative attempt by Chrysler to revive granduer in the automotive world.Hopefully they will make the attempt again in a smaller form.Chrysler will always continue to be stillborn,in many enthusiasts minds without that venerated nameplate.

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