By on June 26, 2017

2017 Chrysler 300C - Image: FCA

Sure, there’s no vinyl bench seats and standard Slant Six engine, but this isn’t 1981 and Chrysler Corporation isn’t trying to boost sales by stripping down a LeBaron and calling it Special. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is, however, trying to make three models more appealing to the buying masses, meaning trim changes are afoot for 2018.

What models, you ask? Two very old sedans and a crossover. According to ordering documents sent to dealers, FCA plans to ratchet down the entry-level price of the 2018 Chrysler 300 and Jeep Cherokee, while also shaking up the bottom end of the Dodge Charger. 

The documents obtained by Automotive News show a new base trim for the 300 — a model which has seen a significant sales drop this year. Buyers will still be able to order a 300 in Limited trim, but the new base model becomes the Touring — a trim familiar to Canadian buyers. Tourings say goodbye to the Limited’s black Nappa leather upholstery and hello to cloth.

Above that trim, 2018 300 buyers will be able to choose from the Touring L, S, Limited, C, and C Platinum. While prices are not mentioned, you don’t drop cloth seats into a slow-selling premium model and not give buyers financial food for thought. 300 sales have plateaued at around 53,000 units in the U.S. in each of the last three years. However, the past three months have seen the model take a serious dive.

The 300’s LX platform twin, the Charger, sees its entry-level SE trim take a hike for 2018. That makes the SXT the new base model. Versions of V6 models with all-wheel drive will carry the GT AWD moniker and come with cloth or leather seating. Agin, no word on pricing.

If you’re looking to get into a base Cherokee, however, there’s plenty of word on pricing. Next year’s model, which is expected to bow with a refreshed face (including conventional headlamps), sees the base Sport trim dropped in favor of a low-end Latitude model. Positioned above that trim will be a Latitude Plus model.

The dealer documents state the base Cherokee will arrive with a “significant price reduction.” While a Cherokee Sport now carries an MSRP of $25,695, the 2018 Cherokee Latitude should sticker for $24,395 before delivery. It isn’t known whether the base model’s content changes along with the new name. Limited and Trailhawk 4×4 models should also see a price reduction.

Apparently, drastic action was needed to firm up sales that have dropped 18 percent, year-to-date. In comparison, 300 and Charger sales have dropped 16 and 12 percent, respectively.

Bring on the cloth.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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