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Chrysler rolls out new models
5 of 9 that are part of 3-year push are already in production

By Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

GENEVA — Five of the record nine vehicles Chrysler plans to roll out this year already have completed the most critical phase of their launch and are in production, according to the company’s chief executive.

The nine new models are part of a three-year product push that will see the introduction of 25 new vehicles as Chrysler tries to boost its sagging revenues and U.S. market share.

“Technically, we have already carried out half of this year’s tremendous burden,” Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche said in an interview at the Geneva auto show.

Vehicles already being built include the Dodge Ram SRT-10 pickup, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible, Chrysler and Dodge minivans with second and third row seats that fold into the floor, the Chrysler Crossfire convertible and the Chrysler 300 Series sedan.

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I have really been impressed with a lot of the cars that Chrysler has come out since the mid-90's, especially their mid-full-size sedans. But their new C300 and Dodge Magnum both look like one giant step backward into their stodgy, unpopular past. The C-300 looks like a brick cross-bred with a Rolls Royce and the Mgnum is only available in a wagon! Despite their impressive drivetrains I don't see these cars helping Chrysler retain what market share it has left. I have't met anyone yet who has liked the way either car looks and I have even spoken to one Chrysler faithful who said that his next car will now be a Buick. But most of all, 3 very important questions emerge from the release of these ugly ducklings:

1. What is Dodge thinking by dropping the Intrepid-sized sedan body-style??? :pain:
From my understanding the sedan is still the most popular body style available. Full-size wagons died out 10 years ago for a reason--they are awkward, ugly, and thirsty. They aren't at all popular. Sporty wagons are only now starting to become, in manageable compact portions, based on cars that are paired with popular sedan counterparts. Releasing a full-size wagon in this day and age is a huge risk. Releasing a full-size wagon without a sedan counterpart is tightrope walking!

2. Whatever happened to the Charger??? :huh:
In 1999, Dodge revealed the stunning Charger concept that they promise would be the Intrepid replacement. It was gorgeous, sporty, and popular. The Charger surely would have been a sales success and really would have given the Grand Prix and Bonneville a run for their money.

3. Do these cars spell the end of Dodge in NASCAR??? <_<
This is the question I would really like to get an answer to. Their current entry, the Intrepid, is a modern and aerodynamic sedan that slips easily into the NASCAR mold. The Magnum is a brick. Unless they plan on strapping jet engines onto these beasts I don't see how they could ever stand a chance of keeping up with the Monte Carlo. Well, for that matter, the blocky Ford 500 doesn't appear to stand a chance either. Glad I'm a Tony Stewart fan.
 

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what the hell are you talking about? The LX cars are WAY above the former cab-foward cars it replaces. The 300C looks sweet, as does the Magnum, but opinions varry. The Magnum is getting a sedan version, you didnt think they were just gunan make wagons did you? The LX chassis will probably produce a small coupe too. If Dodge had any brains that is. They preach this Hemi as the next coming and talk about its killer power....and its in a truck. They have the RWD chassis, they have the engine, they have the drivetrain.... DO IT! Do it before the Mustang rapes the land with its hidious looking body.
You do know that the 99 charger was RWD, and not fwd? The LX platform is a great platfrom to build off of, much like the Zeta chassis GM has. I dont see this as a sign of dodge getting out of NASCAR?? If anything, its moving back to its roots on the NASCAR track with a hemi powerd coupe and sedans. Dont know where you got that idea. The Intreped body style is old and outdated. Time for new blood. And yeah. like NASCAR takes the exact dimensions from the real car and puts them into the mold for the cars. Id pick up a magnum coupe before I stepped foot into a Mustang. I just hope they can make a mid 20's hemi powerd coupe witha 6spd. If Ford can go off an bring back old design, I cant wait for what a hemi magnum would look like in lime green, with the flat black hood with shaker, and flat black stripe down the side.

And how come the Magnum isnt in that list? They just listed teh 300C? 9 cars over 3 years? psshh. Weak. I expected more from a bunch of anal Germans.
 

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Originally posted by PontiacJ8@Mar 4 2004, 12:32 PM
The Charger will replace the Intrepid, that is why they announced they are dropping it...
Is this official? Sorry if I sound ignorant but I haven't heard naything about the Charger in a few years. I read in MotorTrend (Feb. issue, I think) that Dodge was continuing on with only the Magnum wagon.
 

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Originally posted by lio45@Mar 4 2004, 05:56 PM
The Charger is going to be revealed very soon. Just wait and open your eyes in NY.
ooo

that makes it sound like the Charger is some type of sith lord..


"the Charger will reveal itself to the jedi soon"
:D Ill be in NY. There better be a Charger coupe.
 

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do camry and accord drivers want big and flashy? by all accounts the chrysler 300C is an impressive sedan... but will it convince people to go big and brash? maybe it should... and maybe it will... but i can't help but wonder if chrysler has built something a little TOO impressive for that market. not that that should be a bad thing... but i don't know that it'll have the wide appeal the front drive sedans had. i can't stand the old sedans... much prefer the new one... but it seems to be like it won't be the mass-market mobile chrysler needs. any yet, if it's as impressive as the reviews i've read have said, it might change a few opinions. seems a little too off the beaten path in a market that likes same old, same old. but good for chrysler anyways!
 

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I agree the Chrysler 300 is a beautiful car but I think it's too much flash for most people. DCX is crazy not to have a Magnum sedan - that's where the market is in NA.

And an LX Charger would be great but I don't see it challengeing the Mustang in terms of bang-per-buck being so much bigger/heavier and having IRS (the new Mustang is essentially on a purpose-built platform). If we do see a Charger I'd imagine it'll be positioned above the Mustang as more of a muscle-touring-coupe (probably with a personal-luxury-coupe Chrysler version - I'd like to see that even more!!!)
 

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I also agree that a RWD sedan doesn't have the mass market appeal of FWD, but DCX isn't expecting to sell this is Accord/Camrey numbers. From their POV they have the RWD niche all to themselves.

What scares me is talk of GM coming out with a similar RWD mainstream large car platform - THAT wouldn't make any sense for a company with GMs sales expectations.
 

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I think that RWD does have a place in mass marketed sedans. If they didn't then BMW, MB, Cadillac, GM, Dodge, Chrysler, Lexus, Ford, and all of these other companies that allready have or are comming out with new RWD platforms would all be fools. I for one think these new Chrylser/Dodge vehicles are awesome, they're big, bold, and in your face. Designs that are polarizing, but polarizing designs usually seem to do well, plus it brings attention to the brand. I think they're making the right decision to go RWD with AWD being an option. Also, it was said in an ealier article that Dodge was going to be dropping their sedans for awhile, but not indefinately.
 

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Originally posted by stewacide@Mar 4 2004, 07:00 PM
I also agree that a RWD sedan doesn't have the mass market appeal of FWD, but DCX isn't expecting to sell this is Accord/Camrey numbers. From their POV they have the RWD niche all to themselves.
seems odd that DCX would aim low though, especially in such a huge market. niche cars are fine... but not at the expense of some big volume sellers. DCX can't afford to ignore the FWD sedan market they were in with their current FWD's. the domestic RWD market might be theirs now, but i imagine they'll have company soon... and once they do they'll suffer... because it seems that no matter how good DCX products appear, they never seem to have the hits they need.
 

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These Chryslers are the first mainstream RWD sedans in a long time (when was the last time anyone bought a Crown Vic'?). Besides handeling and packageing issues (yes, for most people FWD handles better), RWD doesn't make sense in a mass market car since to be driveable in areas where is snows (read: +80% of the market in North America) they need AWD even in base configuration, which is much more expensive than just starting with FWD and adding AWD to put down more power if needed.
 

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Originally posted by kid@Mar 4 2004, 08:08 PM
I think that RWD does have a place in mass marketed sedans. If they didn't then BMW, MB, Cadillac, GM, Dodge, Chrysler, Lexus, Ford, and all of these other companies that allready have or are comming out with new RWD platforms would all be fools.
i think that's just the question though... are they fools? from an enthusiasts standpoint, no, but it's the sales records that speak the loudest. and the fact that GM, ford and chrysler may be entering this market doesn't mean they aren't fools... too early you tell. i like the idea personally. i'm just not sure it's what the masses want. or know they want.
 

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I'm thinking it's the Mercedes influence. They think because RWD cars work in Europe where it barely snows they'll work in the much harsher climate or North America. The Sweeds know better...

I suppose they figure they covered their asses making it AWD, but there's still a cost issue.

And FYI luxury sedans and sports cars go with RWD because they put down so much power FWD wouldn't work for most configurations, and AWD can be expensive and heavy (it's CHEAPER for them to go RWD). OTOH the vast majority of 300's sold will not be with the Hemi engine, so FWD torque steer isn't an issues.
 

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Originally posted by stewacide@Mar 4 2004, 08:36 PM
I'm thinking it's the Mercedes influence. They think because RWD cars work in Europe where it barely snows they'll work in the much harsher climate or North America. The Sweeds know better...

I suppose they figure they covered their asses making it AWD, but there's still a cost issue.
is adverse-weather driving really THAT big of a deal with RWD? i'm only 24, and have grown up with FWD's for the most part, but have also driven RWD (learned stick on a 5.0L mustang, drove pa's aerostar tons). i have always managed quite nicely, though it definitely takes a different style of driving.

mmmm... perhaps therein lies the problem... so many people are "get in and drive" drivers, who don't understand their vehicle or the signs it gives them as it approaches its limits of traction and adhesion. so maybe throwing joe q. public in a RWD after decades in a FWD in michigan in winter isn't such a good idea. we need smart cars because drivers are becoming dumb, for the most part. with the exception of the fine members of GMi, of course! :)
 

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Originally posted by paul8488+Mar 4 2004, 08:41 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (paul8488 @ Mar 4 2004, 08:41 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-stewacide@Mar 4 2004, 08:36 PM
I'm thinking it's the Mercedes influence. They think because RWD cars work in Europe where it barely snows they'll work in the much harsher climate or North America. The Sweeds know better...

I suppose they figure they covered their asses making it AWD, but there's still a cost issue.
is adverse-weather driving really THAT big of a deal with RWD? i'm only 24, and have grown up with FWD's for the most part, but have also driven RWD (learned stick on a 5.0L mustang, drove pa's aerostar tons). i have always managed quite nicely, though it definitely takes a different style of driving.

mmmm... perhaps therein lies the problem... so many people are "get in and drive" drivers, who don't understand their vehicle or the signs it gives them as it approaches its limits of traction and adhesion. so maybe throwing joe q. public in a RWD after decades in a FWD in michigan in winter isn't such a good idea. we need smart cars because drivers are becoming dumb, for the most part. with the exception of the fine members of GMi, of course! :) [/b][/quote]
That's exactly right. FWD is just easier to drive (point it where you want to go basically) and 90% of people aren't skilled enough to push a RWD car to its limits anyways. There's also the fact that many aspects of RWD driving are very counter-intuitive (e.g. throttle up to steer sharper rather than brake, steer into skids... or is that away?, etc.). That, combined with the poor RWD traction, will make this a coffin on wheels for many folks.
 

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Originally posted by stewacide@Mar 4 2004, 08:36 PM
And FYI luxury sedans and sports cars go with RWD because they put down so much power FWD wouldn't work for most configurations, and AWD can be expensive and heavy (it's CHEAPER for them to go RWD). OTOH the vast majority of 300's sold will not be with the Hemi engine, so FWD torque steer isn't an issues.
I'm thinking that with the recent success of the HEMI, most of the 300C's & Magnums will be making a decent amount of bhp. Too much for a FWD application. Also, the 300C while not a true luxery car, is targeted at a higher end market. It only makes sense that these two vehicles be RWD.
 

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Then why not make the base car FWD and the Hemi models AWD? That would accomplish all their design goals, be cheaper, and safer.

And Audi and Volvo have both done fine as FWD/AWD luxury makes. I'd bet the vast majority of car buyers aren't aware of the difference between front and rear drive anyways, and for every RWD "enthusiast" there are a couple more people who had bad RWD experiences in the 60s/70s/80s and wouldn't touch this thing.
 

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These people aren't going to be pushing any car to its limits, FWD or RWD. The top selling vehicles are trucks, RWD vehicles and I really doubt many of those are pushed to the limit. I dont think people will care if its FWD or RWD, they'll buy whatever the auto makers and salespeople are pushing. Right now the market is pushing for a RWD comeback and I think people are going to respond.
 
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