By on September 18, 2017

2017 Chrysler 300C - Image: FCA

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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53 Comments on “As It Awaits New Models, Chrysler Does What It Can With the 300...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    I’d rather see a ‘normal’ nonSRT 300C 6.4L offering over bonkers Hellcat or pit of despair 2.0T versions.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So…more crossovers…more…more……MOOAAAAAARRRRRR!!!

    Yeah, great, but those crossovers are going to be sold side-by-side with Jeep versions of the same models, at the same dealerships.

    Oh, and by the way…Jeep sales are down. Just FYI.

    This plan’s brilliant, folks.

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      My thoughts exactly. Every dealership selling multiple versions of the same car. Personally, I feel that its not a wise idea for Chrysler to offer anything that competes with Jeep just feet away. Jeep commands a fairly high transaction price. “Hey customer, can we interest you in the same vehicle with $10K on the hood that nobody wants because it says Chrysler on the grill?” Not only cannibalizing sales, cannibalizing more profitable sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      I don’t see the problem. Chrysler is known for the 300 and the minivan. That’s it. No need to change anything. If you could buy a Firebird based on the Camaro or a Oldsmobile 88 based on the Impala at a Buick-GMC dealership, and they were the only cars on that respective brand, what’s the problem?

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      “Jeep versions of the same models”

      And even if this was a good idea, why does it take 2+ years to do it? They need those crossovers now.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    If they turn the LX cars into stiff harsh Cadillac ATS like sport sedans on an Alfa platform (which will inevitable bomb in the marketplace), they don’t get my money. I don’t have a clue what I would buy instead.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    MOAAAAR!! HELLCAT!!! What Chrysler really needs is some factory stock ignition immobilizers and some, ahem, special factory financing. FCA might as well be this car’s first buy here pay here lot.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I thought we were getting some MPV/Crossover version of the Portal? I also heard that the next 300 was a FWD replacement while the Charger is moving to the Alfa platform.

    Its really pointless to guess because on average their product plans change three times and get delayed twice between each model cycle.

  • avatar
    quaquaqua

    Ya know, I think automakers that sell very outdated products *could* still exist in the market. If Honda were still selling a continuously updated 2005-ish Accord, it’d probably be my next car. But the problem with most of FCA’s old vehicles is that they either 1) weren’t good to begin with (sup Journey) and/or 2) have abysmal reliability records (sup 300, and many more).

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      What is the more reliable choice for an affordable large RWD sedan? I would love to see it.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I am not sure that calling the 300 unreliable is an accurate statement. Perhaps not your brand of Vodka and certainly not mine, but they are not a bad car.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Unreliable?”

        Probably not. But these cars definitely have more problems than most of their competitors, which include the Avalon.

        And strictly from a “showroom perception of quality” perspective, the 300/Charger are quite a ways behind the competition. In particular, the interior looks and feels far cheaper than an Avalon (or an Impala or LaCrosse, for that matter).

        This probably explains why these models depreciate so steeply.

        • 0 avatar
          TwoBelugas

          I think the Avalon interior looks like an incoherent hodgepodge of colors and shapes trying to match the “bold” front end with a “bold” interior. The base trims with all black color are darker and more depressing place to be than the 300.

          Then there is the ride. It’s no 2013 Avalon but Toyota apparently still thinks being able tell if you ran over a dime or a penny is a “good” thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          I would take a 300 over a Mercedes or BMW reliability wise these days.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Aspen! My favorite one-year nameplate. Now that the Durango is on the way out, why not reintroduce it again as a Chrysler AND a Jeep for a lot more money?

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I seriously wonder if any future Chrysler product expansion plans are set in stone. I am sort of wondering if Chrysler has a future at all considering such a long product drought. Maybe just give the Pacifica an inch of ground clearance, AWD, plastic cladding and a trail rating, put Jeep on the hood and call it a day. Product plans for Dodge are probably pretty similar with more crossovers the most likely thing to actually see production. 3 brands on the same lot selling rebadges. Doesn’t sound ideal. If the Chrysler and Dodge brands are in it for the long haul, there has to be a better plan with a more differentiated lineup.

    When you flat out kill sedans in your lineup, how many flavors of the same crossovers can you really use to increase total sales volume without the risk of spreading the same amount of sales volume across several platform mates with the added development, marketing, engineering expenses? Plan sounds sort of like a dud to me.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “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.”

    The new Panther, LX, will continue until 2024 or 25 if only as fleet but as which FCA models I can’t say. I do not expect the “swap” to go as planned and between now and then FCA may be sold and those swap plans abandoned.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    And the final point……What happens to FCA when gas prices dramatically
    Increase ????? FCA has nothing

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      The Caliber was one of the earliest cars in the market to take an actual compact car, slightly lift it, and add plastic. Too bad they didn’t realize they had struck gold, and is pretty much the solution to their current problem.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        They hadn’t struck gold, because in typical Chrysler fashion the Caliber was atrocious.

        My brother is absolutely uninterested in cars, and probably couldn’t discern any difference in driving experience between a Hyundai and a Mercedes.

        He rented a Caliber a decade ago and the first thing he said after driving it was “Wow, this thing is terrible.” When even people who don’t care about cars can tell that your car is no good that’s a bad sign.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        They had the right idea with the Caliber…but the car sucked SO badly. Awful engine, awful CVT, awful interior.

        Same for just about every other late-Daimler-era car they made.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    It would be a shame to see it go, I always admired Chrysler for making these.

    I never could bring myself to buy one after having such a bad Mopar experience with repairs, but I still think the design was a home run.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    The current LX cars are good values in V6 form. The 300S is a good looking car with decent motor and handling. Used 300S’ are a good value and can be found.

    What ever happens the 300 I hope it gets a life line for many more years. Don’t need any more crossovers.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    I’ve said it before, but if you’ve only got that platform to work with, bring back a two door Imperial based off the Challenger chassis. No crazy performance version just a nice, classy and fast tourer.

    Also, the 300 really needs a new dash, not the bluff cliff it has now. And why not bring back a long wheelbase version?

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I still believe that they need a competitive mid sizer and small car no matter whats going on in the market. They need to stop cutting corners and just build a great one or ask Mazda for a copy of theirs. Mazda could use the volume and Chrysler needs to product. Chryslers would just have to totally reskin them on the outside. No normal person would know the difference if the inside was the same.

    • 0 avatar
      Oosh

      It could work but to “totally reskin” a monocoque car is no mean feat.

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      The 200 was a perfectly serviceable unique midsize car. No, it wasn’t the segment standout, but then again it wasn’t like all the rest. Some people loved it. Why they decided to keep models that sold MUCH worse at Fiat, and kill the 200, I’ll never know. I once worked for General Mills, and what killed them was astronomical expectations for products with narrow appeal. The 200 could have been nursed along to recoup a little more investment.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Having driven a 200 they are a decent car as far as ride and handling, but the interior, while made with nice enough materials, was claustrophobic and had poor ergonomics. They had the very high center console with a tunnel underneath that was difficult to use.

        I would never buy one and I am as big of a fan boy as there are. I freely admit to still having my Mopar jacket from the 90s.

        I did find the new 200 to be very handsome on the outside, especially in Blue Streak Pearl Coat.

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    Put a landau top on the 300 and call it the Chrysler New Yorker 5th Avenue St. Regis DeLuxe.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    While I’m O.K. with the current 300 remaining in production for the foreseeable future, I’d like to see a Chrysler based on the Ghibli platform in addition to the 300.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    2007 – put a HEMI in everything, we’ll make it up somehow

    2017 – put a Hellcat in everything, we’ll make it up somehow

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    A new 300/Magnum sport wagon would be a good segment breaker. For folks who are not into CUV/SUV’s.


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