As It Awaits New Models, Chrysler Does What It Can With the 300
If Chrysler’s model lineup was a parade, you wouldn’t have to wait long before crossing the street. With just two models on offer — the Pacifica minivan and elderly 300 full-size sedan — following the ill-fated 200’s demise, the Chrysler brand’s U.S. sales volume has fallen to a six-year low.
Plans are afoot to repopulate the meager stable, but the first of two new models — both crossovers — won’t arrive until the end of the decade. In the meantime, the only “new” product you’ll see is a refreshed 300. After a $3,345 price cut for 2018, the 300 appears destined for more buyer enticements in 2019.
Sources have told Automotive News that the second-generation 300’s second refresh will be a major one, aimed at shedding weight from the porky sedan. Currently, the base rear-drive V6 model tips the scales at 4,013 pounds.
The publication surmises that a crash diet could bring about the addition of a turbocharged four-cylinder to the model, further boosting fuel economy. The only obvious candidate is the 2.0-liter “Hurricane” four destined for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler — an engine equipped with a fuel-saving belt starter-generator that’s rumored to make roughly 300 horsepower. As well, spy photos cropped up earlier this year of a 300 equipped with a 707-horsepower V8 borrowed from the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat. Expect that option sometime in late 2018, AN claims.
While new engines and styling could give the 300 a new lease on life, the model’s long-term future in a rapidly declining segment remains hazy. The same sources claim that, unlike its Dodge siblings, the 300 will not receive Alfa Romeo’s rear-drive Giorgio platform. This corroborates a report from last year, placing the model’s survival beyond 2020 in doubt. After first scheduling a platform swap in 2018, FCA has pushed back the Giorgio platform’s arrival until 2020, meaning no all-new full-sizers until the 2021 model year.
With crossovers taking over the world and passenger car sales plummeting, there’s good reason to believe the 300’s refresh is just an attempt to squeeze a final bit of profit from a doomed model.
As for the brand’s future, it’s crossovers all the way. A three-row crossover based on the Jeep Cherokee starts production in 2019, followed a year later by a full-size three-row rumored to carry the Aspen name.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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