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AUBURN HILLS — Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche likes to tell a story about a Chrysler salesman who was nearly fired recently when his boss noticed the dealership’s used car lot was stocked with hard-to-sell BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac models.

Fortunately for the salesman, he hadn’t purchased the luxury cars at auction. They were taken as trade-ins from buyers of the new Chrysler 300 sedan.

Since hitting the market in April, hordes of U.S. car buyers are trading in everything from Hondas to Jaguars to get behind the wheel of Detroit’s new “it” sedan.

“We haven’t ever seen that before,” Zetsche said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “And this is not one dealer or five dealers telling us that. It’s very much across the country.”

It’s too early to say whether the 300 sedan will bring U.S. buyers back to American passenger cars after they’ve been migrating to Japanese and European models for years. But there is more than just anecdotal evidence that the uniquely styled rear-drive sedan is changing some minds.

That’s good news for Chrysler, which has promised for almost four years that a stable of new products will restore profits.

The automaker, a unit of Germany’s DaimlerChrysler AG, generates about 70 percent of its sales from minivans, trucks and sport utility vehicles, and is banking on the 300 to gain a stronger position in the passenger car market.

The 300 is appealing to buyers who may not have considered Chrysler before, including foreign car owners and luxury buyers, according to dealer sales data tracked between April 1 and June 13 by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network.

Among the top 20 models traded for the Chrysler 300 are the Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon and Honda Accord — all from Japanese automakers — while the top 10 trade-ins include models from U.S. luxury brands Lincoln and Cadillac. Though not ranked as high, cars by foreign luxury marques BMW, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz are also coming in.

Cadillac and Lincoln owners are nearly six times more likely to make a trade for a 300 than for any other Chrysler model. Nissan owners are almost twice as inclined to swap for a 300.

Nick Davis, 38, of Bloomfield Hills recently traded a 2-year-old Jaguar X-Type sedan for a Chrysler 300C, the top-of-the-line 300 with a V-8 Hemi engine.

“It’s night and day,” Davis said when asked to compare the two cars. “The 300C feels like it rides smoother and offers much more luxury. It’s a totally different vehicle.”

The 300’s sticker price — ranging from $23,000 to $38,000 — is one of its biggest draws, said Eric Ryan, general sales manager of Birmingham Chrysler Jeep. “Nowadays, cars are so expensive that they cost more than some people’s first homes. This car gives you great content with a real reasonable price.”

Value aside, the car’s bold, muscular styling and large chrome-plated grille have a visceral appeal that is making some buyers forget their love of foreign makes.

After owning two Hondas and a Lexus during the last eight years, Greg Jacobs, a 34-year-old paint salesman from Westland, said he was charmed by the regal-looking sedan with the big wheels and low roof line.

“If it wasn’t for the 300, I wouldn’t have gone back to American cars,” Jacobs said. “I would have continued to drive foreign.”

Full Story HERE
 

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This really is a big hit for Chrysler!
 

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Congrats to Chrysler are in order. They have indeed hit a home run
with the 300. It should be very interesting what kind of a take GM has
on this vehicle. Could they be developing a competitor in the future?
 

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I traded in a Saturn and my debt-free status for the next 5 years for a 300C--I wanted one BAD. I guess the Saturn L-Series trade-in wouldn't make for an interesting article.
 

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Originally posted by Mikkoo@Jul 8 2004, 01:20 PM
Congrats to Chrysler are in order. They have indeed hit a home run
with the 300. It should be very interesting what kind of a take GM has
on this vehicle. Could they be developing a competitor in the future?
They most likely are, and it will come to market in 5 or 6 model years. About the same as everything else they make to compete with something someone else makes. Remember the PT? GM won't have a competitor until 2006. That is rediculus in my mind.
 

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I think our next design contest should be a GM Car to answer to Chryslers 300c.

Perhaps a Buick or Cady. :bounce:
 

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Yea, GM has two competitive models: Chevidillac Suburbacon XLT8 AWD. (SUV-based) it should be ready by 2011.

Or you can get the Buiontiac Razdilion GPX (SUV-based) and with the new GenIV 3900.2.1beta FWD, ready in about six weeks.

Both have OnStar and $11k rebates.

:woot2:
 

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good lord! who expected that from an american car? pretty encouraging for DCX... 6 months ago i woulda guesssed they were done for.

when is the last time GM had this kid of success with a vehicle? i can't think of any comparable examples (where people were clamouring to get at a new GM). i know GM has some fantastic new vehicles, but can anyone give an example of a GM must-have in the not so distant past?
 

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Originally posted by logansowner@Jul 8 2004, 06:26 PM
They most likely are, and it will come to market in 5 or 6 model years. About the same as everything else they make to compete with something someone else makes. Remember the PT? GM won't have a competitor until 2006. That is rediculus in my mind.
The 300 is an awesome car, and I'm happy about that. Let's praise Chrysler and leave it at that. Not every automakers' success needs to morph into a rant about GM's foibles. GM does [some] products well, too, and Chrysler certainly has had its sales duds recently, along with its less than average reliability and productivity performances.

How 'bout some balance?
 

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Incidentally, and on a somewhat non sequitur note, I just noticed that my membership status has changed to "V-6." I'm hoping that I at least have a 300 exterior to match my somewhat sedate V-6 designation...
 

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Originally posted by paul8488@Jul 8 2004, 01:52 PM
when is the last time GM had this kid of success with a vehicle? i can't think of any comparable examples (where people were clamouring to get at a new GM). i know GM has some fantastic new vehicles, but can anyone give an example of a GM must-have in the not so distant past?
only similiar success i can think of goes back a few years to the 94-96 impala ss b-body. maybe hummer h2 also, but thats a whole different market.
 

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Originally posted by IMPALAon20s+Jul 8 2004, 07:11 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (IMPALAon20s @ Jul 8 2004, 07:11 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-paul8488@Jul 8 2004, 01:52 PM
when is the last time GM had this kid of success with a vehicle? i can't think of any comparable examples (where people were clamouring to get at a new GM). i know GM has some fantastic new vehicles, but can anyone give an example of a GM must-have in the not so distant past?
only similiar success i can think of goes back a few years to the 94-96 impala ss b-body. maybe hummer h2 also, but thats a whole different market. [/b][/quote]
ah right! yes, i recall chev was expecting to sell something like 8000 impala SS's over a year or two, but instead sold closer to 40,000 over 5 years (numbers may be way off, but i think it was that sorta ratio). good example!
 
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I bumped into a guy at the gym who said he WAS looking at the CTS but sprung for the 300C instead. He "looked" like an import buyer, whatever that means.

Note to other domestic manufacturer's (GM, Ford): The 300C does NOT look like a Japanese car (i.e. egg shaped). It looks like something that jumped from a 1930's movie screen. It's not called retro, it's called style. That is something that Ford, GM and Chrysler have that Toyota and Honda don't have. It's called a rich heritage, a track record, the "vault". Use it!

What was once old, is new again.

Hip, hip hooray..hip, hip hooray...hip, hip, hooray..to Chrysler!

Take good notes GM and Ford.

:D
 

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Originally posted by spdwayGm@Jul 8 2004, 06:47 AM
Yea, GM has two competitive models: Chevidillac Suburbacon XLT8 AWD. (SUV-based) it should be ready by 2011.

Or you can get the Buiontiac Razdilion GPX (SUV-based) and with the new GenIV 3900.2.1beta FWD, ready in about six weeks.

Both have OnStar and $11k rebates.

:woot2:
spdwayGM? You lost me on that one...

what the heck does this mean man?
 

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Wow, the 300 is really getting a lot of praise from us GM guys!
 

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When was the last hit from GM? I'm not talking about a car that just had positive sales increases over the model it replaced. I'm talking about a car that has a passionate following, loads of press, and significant sales increases over the model it replaced.

My guess is that GM has been as Chrysler. At least Ford has the new F-150.

I wasn't impressed with the 300C in pictures, but must say the car looks like it has GONADS. GM better learn that edge and melted budda looking styling aren't what Americans are looking for. They want a car that looks like it will kick butt. Leave the wimpy styling to honda and toyota. GM cars need some MOXIE!
 

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Originally posted by New_Mexico_Sunset_on_Rt66@Jul 8 2004, 07:39 PM
I bumped into a guy at the gym who said he WAS looking at the CTS but sprung for the 300C instead. He "looked" like an import buyer, whatever that means.

Note to other domestic manufacturer's (GM, Ford): The 300C does NOT look like a Japanese car (i.e. egg shaped). It looks like something that jumped from a 1930's movie screen. It's not called retro, it's called style. That is something that Ford, GM and Chrysler have that Toyota and Honda don't have. It's called tradition, a track record, the "vault". Use it!

What was once old, is new again.

Hip, hip hooray..hip, hip hooray...hip, hip, hooray..to Chrysler!

Take good notes GM and Ford.

:D
Amen!

You have hit the nail on the head - styling. Nothing from any domestic manufacturer save for the Crossfire and the new 300C look like a designer had any hand in the creation. Any monkey can crease metal (Cadillac raided several zoos for their design team). It takes DESIGNERS (not choppers) to bring PASSION to the showroom. The 300C succeeds because it has an attitude to it. It is hunkered down, high beltlined, anti-wimpy. I'm not convinced that GM executive ever look back to their 50's and 60's to see when they actually styled cars. Now they just close their eyes and pray whatever they put on the wheels will start.

Amen to Chrysler for taking the risk to bring out a v-8, rear wheel drive REAL CAR during a time when everyone keeps telling us what we should be buying....tin can *** cars, four cylinder fuel sippers that couldn't get out of their own way if they were given a head start.
 

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I think what sets Chrysler apart is that the voices of its car people aren't being quashed by the demands of marketers and accountants. I don't mind praising Chrysler. When an auto company can come out with cars like the Crossfire or 300 or even the PT Cruiser, it shows there's still a place for a company that remembers when passion and style had their place when selling cars.

Ford makes the mistake of copying popular designs of the past, and not the spirit in which they were created. The Japanese manufacturers look to melted bars of soap and '50s sci-fi creatures for ideas when they're not stealing the boring designs of the German carmakers.

GMs focus-groupified and badge-engineered cars don't seem to elicit much buzz either. Cadillac is the exception. They have a tradition that isn't lost in their design philosophy. You'll know a Cadillac when you see one. Can anyone say what makes a Chevy a Chevy besides a large un-stylized chrome bar bisecting the grille?

All car designers, product planners, and executives should be forced to take a class on car style from the '40s, '50s, and '60s and learn what tangible and intangible qualities set each brand apart from one another.

Thus concludes my rant.
 
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