New fuel-economy regulations are threatening to kill off a whole generation of new, rear-drive vehicles planned by a handful of manufacturers. But at one company, the mainstay rear-drive sedan is sticking around--mainly because there’s no budget to change its orientation.
TheCarConnection.com has learned that Chrysler’s plans for its large 300/Charger sedans include a major makeover for the 2011 model year. But while Chrysler’s new managers have been dropping hints about the future of the HEMI engine, there’s not much they can do about the rear-drive layout of the big sedans.
A switch to front-wheel drive could improve the fuel economy of the sedans, but reports to TCC say that there’s no money set aside to make the switch to front-wheel drive. The Canadian plant where the 300/Charger and new Challenger are built formerly was outfitted to build front-drive sedans, back when the plant produced the Chrysler “LH” cars in the early 2000s.
The revamp in the works for the early part of the next decade will be fairly substantial. Chrysler is said to have decided that a bold styling statement is critical to the lineup’s sales success--but certain features of the car, like its low roofline, will change to give the cars a more updated look.