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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What Went Wrong: 2005-2008 Dodge Magnum
When it was new alongside its Chrysler 300 cousin, the Magnum created something of a stir. I have heard before that there was a bizzare idea within Daimler-Chrysler to keep Chrysler cars available as sedans whereas Dodges would have liftgates. The Magnum being offered before the Charger and the existence of the Caliber (as only a hatch) seems to give light credibility to that claim. Obviously that structure for both brands was quickly scrapped.

On its own, though, the Magnum performed better than I might have thought. At its peak year it sold over 50,000 units (so says Wikipedia). But even after a healthy refresh for 2008 (new front end, updated Charger interior and tech, etc), the Magnum was quietly put down. In the section surrounding its demise on Wikipedia, it even appears as though the Magnum's death was not done with much fervor or determination, with Ralph Gilles even stating its death could be attributed to an executive who had since retired.

What do you think? Sales were on a steady decline, so did the Charger eat into a lot of the sales? Does the existence of the Charger keep the Magnum from ever being particularly successful? What could/should have been done to keep it successful and alive rather than face an early death? Should Dodge bring it back, and if so, how should that be done?
 

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I don't think it failed. In fact, I think quite the opposite. If you look at the car as being what it was, a de facto extension of the Charger/300 line, then one could suggest that the car was in fact a success.
 

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I don't know about sales, during their production run I saw a lot of them on the road.
Chrysler was definitely cajones-out for even putting this puppy in the showrooms.

I wonder if an El Camino/La Strada version would've sold?
 

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I actually preferred the Chrysler 300C Touring over the Magnum. Too bad it was never sold in the States.
 

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I think it's one of those vehicles we all think is cool (V8 wagon with gangsta looks), but in the end too fuel inefficient to be practical. Too gangsta for a working father to show up at work with (I'd be embarassed to show up at work in it), not right or too expensive for the younger guys.

But I think the biggest problem was that it is a family car with extremely masculine styling - way to agressive looking for most women. A minivan is more practical.....
 

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A better question is why anything that does not sell squllions has to be called a "fail" or a "failure" :rolleyes:
 

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Problem: There wasn't a Chrysler variant despite demand for one
The interior was black on black, something anything to lighten things up would have helped.
Cerebus only wanted Chrysler to sell off parts it was never interested in making cars
Solution: Make it part of Chrysler this time with a SRT brand variant, skip Dodge this time around. Maybe a Dodge as a police package.
 

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the magnum was not a fail, sales were good for what it was, they made a ton of money off of it, old people liked it, young folks, and women....my old Director had one when they first came out, and I had a old bitty neighbor that had one too. The Magnum really could claim to be the beginning of the RWD resurrection. I love it, and DODGE was dumb to kill it....it cost nothing to build....
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I think that I'd agree with a lot of the ideas presented here. The Magnum unfortunately existed towards the tipping point of Chrysler's troubles and so most of what wasn't selling like hotcakes got canned (Magnum, Durango/Aspen, Pacifica, etc) even if it was probably viable long term. Unavoidable was the perception the Dodge brand carried to many and the LX cars weren't exactly dependability winners for the most part either. I actually feel that masculine styling didn't hurt the Magnum though, given that it doesn't seem to have hurt sales of vehicles like the Charger or Mustang.

Another angle I'd take is that a wagon is generally a more family oriented vehicle and the Magnum had some practicality issues, visibility being one of them. And in a family oriented vehicle the suspect interior quality and lack of competitive "volume engines" doomed its long term nature. To get okay mileage you had to buy the oh-so-slow 2.7L. Given the (small) midsize segment while it was around with the Legacy and Passat being at the forefront, the Magnum had obvious refinement and interior design/quality disadvantages; granted, I realize the Magnum probably outsold the 6 Wagon, Legacy Wagon, and Passat wagon combined but my point is that I suspect attracted domestic-oriented car buyers rather than being any broader in its appeal. As a car it had a lot of those engine, refinement, interior quality, etc, disadvantages.

All of that aside, I actually would advocate for Chrysler bringing back the Magnum to the Dodge lineup. The next Magnum ought to be fairly uniquely styled from its cousins as the 05-08 one was. Quality interior with thoughtful and practical touches would go a long way, especially with things like visibility and hatch opening space examples of key things to consider for practicality. Finally an economical and competitive V-6 is available, and if they really want to be aggressive on economy the 2014 Grand Cherokee just showed off a 30 mpg highway (so imagine the economy in this car!) 3.0T diesel with more than 400 lb-ft. If they did do this correctly in my armchair executive way, I'd bet they could still sell about 50K units annually and do so with far higher average transaction prices than the 2005-2008 vehicle.

Here's to hoping ...

A better question is why anything that does not sell squllions has to be called a "fail" or a "failure" :rolleyes:
I really do agree. So often we are seeing models killed off when they don't sell 500 million units each quarter, or so it seems.
 

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I think Chrysler knew they could only sell so many (Performance/Sport) full size Dodge cars....... With the addition of the Challenger, the Magnum had to go, shifting those buyers to the Charger.
 

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I think that I'd agree with a lot of the ideas presented here. The Magnum unfortunately existed towards the tipping point of Chrysler's troubles and so most of what wasn't selling like hotcakes got canned (Magnum, Durango/Aspen, Pacifica, etc) even if it was probably viable long term. Unavoidable was the perception the Dodge brand carried to many and the LX cars weren't exactly dependability winners for the most part either. I actually feel that masculine styling didn't hurt the Magnum though, given that it doesn't seem to have hurt sales of vehicles like the Charger or Mustang.

Another angle I'd take is that a wagon is generally a more family oriented vehicle and the Magnum had some practicality issues, visibility being one of them. And in a family oriented vehicle the suspect interior quality and lack of competitive "volume engines" doomed its long term nature. To get okay mileage you had to buy the oh-so-slow 2.7L. Given the (small) midsize segment while it was around with the Legacy and Passat being at the forefront, the Magnum had obvious refinement and interior design/quality disadvantages; granted, I realize the Magnum probably outsold the 6 Wagon, Legacy Wagon, and Passat wagon combined but my point is that I suspect attracted domestic-oriented car buyers rather than being any broader in its appeal. As a car it had a lot of those engine, refinement, interior quality, etc, disadvantages.

All of that aside, I actually would advocate for Chrysler bringing back the Magnum to the Dodge lineup. The next Magnum ought to be fairly uniquely styled from its cousins as the 05-08 one was. Quality interior with thoughtful and practical touches would go a long way, especially with things like visibility and hatch opening space examples of key things to consider for practicality. Finally an economical and competitive V-6 is available, and if they really want to be aggressive on economy the 2014 Grand Cherokee just showed off a 30 mpg highway (so imagine the economy in this car!) 3.0T diesel with more than 400 lb-ft. If they did do this correctly in my armchair executive way, I'd bet they could still sell about 50K units annually and do so with far higher average transaction prices than the 2005-2008 vehicle.

Here's to hoping ...



I really do agree. So often we are seeing models killed off when they don't sell 500 million units each quarter, or so it seems.
It makes me wonder how many sales they really needed for a business case?

The 300c Touring was a much better looker and i would imagine better equiped







 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It makes me wonder how many sales they really needed for a business case?

The 300c Touring was a much better looker and i would imagine better equiped
My suspicion is that the Magnum's 2007 sales were not even a full three-fifths that of 2005 sales and with that decline, cash-strapped Chrysler decided to focus on the core of their most profitable cars from Dodge while killing off everything else over the next few years. That's why the Charger, Ram, Grand Caravan, etc, lived and others like the Magnum, Caliber, etc, were killed off or completely replaced (only the Durango nameplate has returned so far from the series of vehicles that Dodge/RAM killed off from ~2008-2011).

So if the Magnum was revived again and settled in around 45-50K units annually I think it'd survive and Chrysler would be more interested in investing in its success. I like the idea of a 300 wagon but always wanted something a little more formal looking given its more luxurious aspirations. A 300 Touring CRD wouldn't have been a bad daily though. A little big for European buyers, much less the awful interior, nor was it as good as its relative Holden competition in Australia.
 

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My suspicion is that the Magnum's 2007 sales were not even a full three-fifths that of 2005 sales and with that decline, cash-strapped Chrysler decided to focus on the core of their most profitable cars from Dodge while killing off everything else over the next few years. That's why the Charger, Ram, Grand Caravan, etc, lived and others like the Magnum, Caliber, etc, were killed off or completely replaced (only the Durango nameplate has returned so far from the series of vehicles that Dodge/RAM killed off from ~2008-2011).

So if the Magnum was revived again and settled in around 45-50K units annually I think it'd survive and Chrysler would be more interested in investing in its success. I like the idea of a 300 wagon but always wanted something a little more formal looking given its more luxurious aspirations. A 300 Touring CRD wouldn't have been a bad daily though. A little big for European buyers, much less the awful interior, nor was it as good as its relative Holden competition in Australia.
It's a little too heavy against the Holden and Ford and looked about 3 times bigger even though it's comparitvely similar

Thats a bad thing in a market where efficiency and perceived efficiency are both very important

The new model 300 is much better but is still a pig in comparison to the Holden and Ford
 

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just imho, it's more accurate to ask why it succeeded...at first
&
that's simply because there was no Charger

as soon as the Charger went on sale May '05, the Magnum's sales were on their downward death spiral
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's a little too heavy against the Holden and Ford and looked about 3 times bigger even though it's comparitvely similar

Thats a bad thing in a market where efficiency and perceived efficiency are both very important

The new model 300 is much better but is still a pig in comparison to the Holden and Ford
Hopefully that will be addressed with the new platform that (IIRC) is supposed to underpin the next 300/Charger and by extension I'd assume the new Challenger/Barracuda/whatevertheyendupcallingit. The current cars need to SHED the weight. I'm talking at least 300 lbs across the board.
 

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I always liked the Pacifica too. That car was a nice drive considering its bulk.
 

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It wasn't a failure, and if compared to wagon variants of similar vehicles it could be considered absolutely nothing less than a rousing success.
 

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I always loved the magnums.

If dodge brought it back I can only imagine how great it could be after seeing the new 300 and charger

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