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ATLANTA - Chrysler Corp. has decided to cast two new lines into the imaginary "premium automotive pond," as it begins fishing for buyers. For bait, the company is using the plush new 1999 LHS and the stylishly 300 M. The question is: Will buyers bite on such bait? And, which will they choose?
Although built on the same platform as the Concorde, these two cars are a departure in both look and feel from their curvaceous cousin. By comparison, the Concorde is a chic, yet moderately-priced model designed for the bread-and-butter sedan market. By comparison, the soon-to-be-released LHS and 300M are fishing for wealthier and more sophisticated buyers.
Both follow Chrysler’s new paperless design approach, which allows engineers to create cars almost exclusively by computer-aided design. In my view, the procedure has worked well in creating these fraternal twins. While nearly identical under the skin, the LHS and 300M have distinctly different in both looks and feel.
LHS makes strong styling statement
While the LHS is aimed at the traditional luxury buyer, its styling certainly in not -- traditional that is. In fact, if you liked the LHX concept car, you'll feel right at home in the production model. The most striking feature of the LHS is its unique, slanted headlamp design, which along with its egg-crate 'mouth' grille, dominate the frontal view. Chrysler claims they not only contribute to design flair, but improve functionality, as well. The halogen-bulb, quad-projector headlamps deliver a 50 percent improvement in light placement and brightness. Its rear design and taillamps flow smoothly and seamlessly into the car's flanks. Overall, its long, sculpted lines and cab-forward design are futuristic and intriguingly different.
1999 Chrysler LHS dash
1999 Chrysler LHS storage