Chrysler: No Imperial But New 300



Chrysler said it plans to spend $1.2 billion on re-tooling the company’s assembly plant inBrampton, Ont., for a new array of full-size vehicles, which the company plans to unveil at the end of the decade.

The next generation will include replacements for the rear-wheel-drive Chrysler 300 series, Dodge Magnum, and Dodge Charger, Chrysler officials said. The new versions will now appear in 2010, Chrysler officials said.

However, Chrysler officials had said they were scrapping plans for an Imperial sedan, which would have been based on the concept car shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit . With price of fuel hovering at $3 per gallon and fuel-efficiency standards getting tighter, Chrysler just couldn’t make the business case for the Imperial work.


David Elshoff, spokesman for Chrysler, said “We never said we were going to build it but we did tell the CAW we would take a look. At the end of the day, there was no business case for it,” he added.

Detroit’s automakers have come under intense pressure from Washington to raise fuel-economy standards and the fight is expected to have a significant impact on the product decisions of all automakers.

However, the announcement made it plain Chrysler plans to continue building full-size rear-wheel-drive cars on the LX platform.

“Because of Brampton’s ability to meet safety, quality, delivery, cost, and morale metrics, we’re pleased to announce that Brampton will be the future home of Chrysler Group’s full-size car platform,” said Frank Ewasyshyn. “We appreciate the support of the CAW and employees in assisting the company in moving forward with investment decisions,” he added.

The Brampton Assembly Plant will also add production for all international LX-based vehicles in calendar year 2010, Ewasyshyn said. The international versions of the LX vehicles are currently produced at Magna Steyr’s facility in Graz, Austria. The Magna Steyr facility also produces the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, and Chrysler minivan vehicles for markets outside of North America.

The announcement was clearly a disappointment for Magna Corp., which is one of Chrysler's largest suppliers. Magna, however, noted it will continue to build the 300C for the European market through 2010. Last spring, BMW also announced plans to pull production of vehicle out of Graz and move it to North America. The steady climb in the value of the euro has made production in dollars in North America relatively cheap for carmakers.

Chrysler also celebrated the production of the one millionth LX, which fittingly enough was a Chrysler 300. The Chrysler 300 was launched in January 2004, followed by the Dodge Magnum two months later. The AWD models began production in mid-2004. In April of 2005, the Dodge Charger was added to the Brampton Assembly manufacturing portfolio.

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