By on October 23, 2017

2018 Chrysler 300 Limited - Image: FCA

On the surface, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand is everything a modern-day brand should be. SUVs and crossovers, a looming pickup truck, and no cars. This is what the world wants.

On the opposite side of the coin, Chrysler is the brand seemingly no one, save for North American minivan buyers and a shrinking pool of traditional luxury sedan devotees, wants. Year-to-date, sales of the brand’s two-model U.S. lineup is down nearly 10 percent.

Overseas reports claiming FCA has ended production of right-hand-drive models at its Ontario, Canada assembly plants paint an even grimmer picture, even though the core RHD Chrysler model — the rear-drive 300 — is not, apparently, extinct.

Prompted by an early report in Allpar, numerous media sources are reporting the ceasing of right-hand-drive variants of FCA’s Canadian-made full-size cars. That’s unusual, given that the Dodge Charger and Challenger aren’t produced in right-hand drive (though there’s hopes for a RHD next-generation model).

As for the 300, Lou Ann Gosselin, head of communications for FCA Canada, told TTAC, “We do continue to build the Chrysler 300 RHD at the FCA Brampton Assembly Plant.”

If the RHD 300 was defunct, it would have spelled the end for the brand in several markets, including the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. However, those countries never really took to the brand in the first place, and many are already phasing it out. Chrysler sold just 26 Chrysler 300 sedans in Australia in September, and 210 in all of 2017 so far. In contrast, China’s Great Wall sold 36 vehicles in the kangaroo-laden country last month. In the UK and Ireland, five Chrysler-badged vehicles went to non-conformist customers in August. (The brand disappears in the UK after 2017.)

Suffice it to say, Chrysler isn’t a big draw in other continents. The automaker knows this, and it’s the reason the brand, along with Dodge, is pulling out of numerous overseas markets while the growing Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands fill the FCA void. Earlier this month, FCA announced the end of both brands in South Africa, as reported by Wheels24.

“FCA will say a fond farewell to two of the mainstay car brands, with the Chrysler and Dodge vehicle ranges no longer being available locally,” FCA South Africa CEO Robin van Rensburg stated. “This unfortunate situation has arisen from our principals in the USA no longer building Chrysler or Dodge vehicles in Right Hand Drive configuration.”

It’s this statement that lit the fire under the RHD Chrysler 300 rumors. Down Under, FCA’s Aussie division refuted the report by the South African division.

In a statement reported by Car Advice, Alessia Terranova, manager of public relations for FCA Australia, said, “I am not at liberty to comment on South Africa’s decision. What I can tell you is that Australia will continue to sell the right-hand drive Chrysler 300 as an ongoing product in our lineup. In relation to Dodge, at this stage, this brand is represented as a parts and service operation only.”

As opposed to other countries, the Aussies do seem keener on keeping the Chrysler brand alive. Last year, FCA Australia head Steve Zanlunghi told Motoring, “The way I see it there are still good, profitable opportunities for the Chrysler brand,” he couldn’t give assurances for any point past the 2017 model year.

“I wouldn’t say I am not committed,” Zanlunghi continued. “We are committed. I am committed at least through 2017. Let’s see what happens, let’s see if there are any other products we might be able to add.”

The only new products arriving from Chrysler — two crossovers — won’t appear for some time yet, and it isn’t known whether Aussies are champing at the bit for an opportunity to drive a Pacifica (currently unavailable Down Under). Meanwhile, FCA is eager to have the 300 replace the defunct RWD Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore in Australian police fleets.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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16 Comments on “As Chrysler Fades Away on the Global Stage, Right-hand-drive 300s Remain in Production...”

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Chrysler has never been a huge success in Australia and I don’t think Australia will miss any FCA product if they shut shop. FCA and even Jeep have a poor reputation, which in many ways is deserving and some not so deserving.

    I do believe FCA vehicles have a lot of potential, it’s just a pity they are built like sh!t. Here they are priced around “Korean” car prices.

    So, how can you compare a Korean quality built vehicle to any FCA product?

    I really can’t see the police in Australia adopting the 300 either as there are far better options available. The Victorian Police are buying quite a few 5 Series diesel BMWs at the moment.

    Performance wise they are on par with the V8 Falcon and Commodore highway patrol (pursuit) vehicles and use less fuel than a Camry Hybrid. From what I read they are quite “cheap” as well as BMW produce as the 5 Series has a special unblinged police variant.

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      We agree for once Al!

      I don’t think the 300 is going to be the vehicle of choice for police in Australia, or anywhere else.

    • 0 avatar

      “I don’t think Australia will miss any FCA product if they shut shop.”

      I agree. For Fiatsler to remain relevant, they should focus on the areas across the globe where they actually sell well, and are in demand. Down under obviously is not one of those areas.

      But I should add that our 2012 Overland Summit Grand Cherokee and the 2012 SRT8 now owned by my grand daughter and her husband, both remain viable daily drivers in Surprise, AZ, each with well over 130K on the clock, and with only the minimum of scheduled maintenance done.

      So, “FCA and even Jeep have a poor reputation” may vary among owners, since ours have held up extremely well and better than ANY GM or Ford product I have ever owned over the decades past.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      Wrong on all counts.

      Chryler was the third biggest selling marque in Australia until Lee Iacocca pulled the plug in 1978.

      The NSW and Victorian police have already bought Chrysler 300s.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        1978 was a lonh time ago and it was a distant third. That’s why Mitsubishi took over.

        As for cop cars I have yet to see one, but I’ve only been in Oz for a month in the last 12.

      • 0 avatar

        unfortunately the near-BK of the late ’70s meant they were pushed towards a lot of decisions which had long-term negative consequences. Selling off Chrysler Defense to General Dynamics for a song, selling off Chrysler Europe to Peugeot, dumping the marine business, etc…

        had they at least stuck with Chrysler Europe they might not have been in a weak enough position to have to sacrifice themselves to Daimler.

  • avatar

    What a sad end to Chrysler. I think about all the sharp luxury models they had through the 80s, followed by hideous machines starting in the 90s (same as Oldsmobile).

    The 200 & 300 were the best they could do? We don’t need to beat the dead 200 horse anymore, but every time I see a 300 I think it belongs in a Batman movie, all dark and aggressive.

    Just my view from the cheap seats, but I think if they’d played their cards right they could’ve held the market share Hyundai & Kia started taking in the early 2000s. All those pretentious mid-size sedans with fake wood and leather seats should have been “imported from Detroit” instead.

    • 0 avatar

      “What a sad end to Chrysler.”

      The end came in 2009 when Chrysler died. At least “We, The People,” got rid of that dead carcass, unlike GM which still staggers on today.

      • 0 avatar

        A carcass with a soaring stock price.

        • 0 avatar

          “A carcass with a soaring stock price.”

          Oh, yeah! Thanks to the Trump Effect on the Stock Market. Bless you, President Trump!

          Did you see where the Stock Market went today?

          We’re having to take accelerated Lump Sum cash payments from our retirement fund because we can’t get it all out before the mandated 10-year period.

          Finally! Some great news for Americans!!!

    • 0 avatar

      The Italian interior designers haven’t gotten the hang of designing ‘bling’ yet. The 300 could have been a worthy replacement for the “deuce and a quarter” as the preferred pimpmobile.

      FCA should have kept the RWD cars they inherited, or at least made AWD standard for the bigger midsized FWD models. You’re right – the old Sebring sedan with upgraded suspension, the Pentastar V6, and some bling would have cut off the Koreans at the pass.

    • 0 avatar

      Well the 300 was special when it was released, almost a decade-and-a-half ago.

      This is where I get lectured that the 300 is utterly different now than when it was 15 years ago. The underlying LX bones are still based on a 2 generation old E-class Mercedes and RWD fullsize architecture that global buyers don’t want.

  • avatar

    With the possible exception of Boeing, US manufacturing is disappearing from the global stage.

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