By on October 24, 2017

1981 Chrysler Imperial, Image: imperialclub.org

As often happens here at TTAC, yesterday we brought you a story that illustrates the Chrysler brand’s slow decline — both in sales and in status. Yes, the brand is pulling out of several countries, even as sales in its home country have declined, year-over-year, for 23 straight months.

The Chrysler brand, once the pinnacle of American near-luxury, has been shedding models at breakneck speed. With just a minivan and an aging full-size sedan in its lineup (due for price cuts in 2018!), even Rolls-Royce’s stable sports more occupants. Meanwhile, sales have followed suit — slipping from 649,293 U.S. vehicles in 2005 to 231,972 units in 2016. The brand will be lucky to break the 200k marker this year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles doesn’t seem content to let its one-time prestige brand wither to oblivion, however, so two saviors are on the way: a three-row midsize crossover due for 2019 and a full-size crossover scheduled to appear for 2021.

It seems that Chrysler could use a little attention; something to get eyeballs on the company. The brand that brought us the New Yorker, Fifth Avenue, Imperial and, for better or worse, the Crossfire, could use a halo vehicle. Something aspirational. Certainly, sales considerations aside, a full-size crossover (rumored to carry the Aspen name, yet again) doesn’t strike us an appropriate range-topper. What would you like to see Chrysler build?

We already know Chrysler isn’t dropping the 707-horsepower Hellcat engine into the 300, which prevents its sole remaining car from being that lusted-after halo. Forget about it.

Sadly, as much as everyone enjoys feasting their eyes on a slinky, uplevel coupe (think Buick Avista), these vaporware offerings never see production, and the public knows it. Besides, coupes — non-four-door, non-4WD coupes — are as scarce as Chryslers these days. Frank Sinatra’s not coming back, and neither is the Imperial.

An ultra-lux sedan seems doomed from the get-go. Buyers want big utility vehicles, and Chrysler has a hard enough time moving 300s. Is it time for LeBaron? A droptop? Maybe a Hellcat-powered sports coupe? Perhaps some bizarre mish-mash of performance car and utility vehicle?

What range-topping Chrysler production vehicle would emerge from your brain if Sergio handed over the product planning reins?

[Image: imperialclub.org]

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103 Comments on “QOTD: Where to Go for a Chrysler Halo?...”


  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    A $75k-ish Pacifica Imperial.

    No, I’m not kidding. Chrysler is known for the minivan. Gild the crap out of a top-of-the-line Pacifica (maybe even the hybrid) with six supremely-comfortable captains’ chairs that don’t fold down.

    • 0 avatar
      legacygt

      Agreed. By all accounts the current Pacifica may be one of the best cars Chrysler has ever produced. It gets challenging to turn a mass market car into something special…you can only do so much to hide the cheaper bits. But Chrysler doesn’t really have anywhere else to start at this point. The other option would be something based off of the Grand Cherokee/Durango but that platform is aging.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Agreed.

      At this point Chrysler’s a minivan brand. So go all the way with one.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      can you come up with a frumpier name than Imperial?

      How about the Chrysler DeSoto Diplomat?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      No, to carry the name Imperial, you need something big and brash. You want something with the capacity of a minivan but the size of a full-on SUV. You need it to look different…important…ELITE! Gilding a minivan simply can’t do that.

      Go take a look at the ’65 Imperial http://www.imperialclub.org/Yr/1965/1965Brochure/1965Brochure2-3.JPG
      … and envision that as a tall BoF SUV. Sure, it needs to be updated but keep the general stylistic cues that says, I Am Luxury, rather than, I am a truck.

      • 0 avatar
        bluegoose

        FCA will never allow a Chrysler Halo. It would compete with Maserati. The only solution for Chrysler is to turn itself into an “Eco” brand. Word in Moparland has the 300 taking the dirt nap in 2020. FCA needs more fuel efficient cars in their lineup to offset the gss guzzling monsters it produces. That is the only solution I see.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Maserati is not a Cadillac-grade luxobarge; a Chrysler full-sized, 3-row SUV Imperial, would be. Granted, a couple Maseratis are based on the 300/200 chassis but they simply don’t have that Prestige that an Escalade competitor should carry. The Levanté doesn’t say, “I Am Here”, it says, “Let’s Ride!” It’s a luxury sport model, not a luxobarge.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ Vulpine – Love those ’64-’66s. Elwood Engel did a great job adapting his Continental design language to the D-body platform.

        This, for my money, is one of the most bad-ass car review photos ever taken: http://www.imperialclub.com/Articles/64MotorTrend/Page04-reg.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          Coopdeville

          Wow. Skinny tires! How did those not explode all at once when that thing landed?

          Also, according to inflation calculator, base price was $45,500 in today’s money and the heater/defroster was optional at $4,699! I know a lot of things have gotten more expensive but I think we’re spoiled when it comes to new cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That wasn’t ‘heater/defroster’ but rather dual-unit AC unit, similar to today’s dual-zone AC in a more… mechanical age.

            Yes, those things were heavy but you also have to remember they were on bias-ply tires which were remarkably tough, though squirmy at any extreme speed. We’re spoiled with our steel-belted and other radial tires today. I found out with my second car just how much tighter handling became when you put radials on in place of bias-ply tires.

    • 0 avatar
      Giltibo

      No hope there. FCA does not have the dedication to quality needed for a product in that price range. Chrysler and Dodge are, for all intents and purposes, brands in death row, that will disappear soon as Fiat gets a reasonable offer for Jeep.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Why does everybody assume FCA will sell Jeep? That would be the biggest mistake anybody would make! Every company that has sold Jeep had died within months; Jeep is what was holding Chrysler and now FCA together. Jeep is the brand that’s making most of the money for FCA, followed closely by Ram. Other brands in the group are profitable to a greater or lesser extent but they are either inhibited by low demand or low production, depending on the badge.

        FCA is stronger now that the Fiat group has been in decades. The profits earned from Jeep and Ram are eliminating Fiat’s debts at a record pace, though the company still has to fight high costs, and some of that is coming from its US dealership network.

        I personally can see only one way they can kill off all those abusive franchises and survive, but it would mean pulling ALL operations out of the US and forcing those franchises to expire, closing them or forcing them to take on other brands. They would then need to very carefully select who to contact to start bringing business back into the States. FCA simply doesn’t have the problems overseas that they experience with US sales and manufacturing. Not in the same manner, anyway.

        So no, FCA will not sell Jeep unless they choose to totally shut down ALL their other business as well.

        • 0 avatar
          stuckonthetrain

          I think because there’s so little investment in new non-Jeep vehicles, even if they’d be based off older, long-since-paid-off platforms like the LX or CUSW.

          What I don’t get is the non-investment in seemingly low-hanging fruit, like a Durango-based Dakota reboot, or a BOF Ram-based SUV.

          I think of the wide universe of K-car variants and wonder why more speciation isn’t possible with any of the current platforms. I mean, I know CUSW has had 4 “spawn” in the US, but I feel like Iaccocca would’ve already added a Rampage, a 3-row compact-ish CUV, etc. etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Well obviously he’s trying to make the many Fiat products (including Alfa and Maserati) fill the gaps, and you have to admit both of them have some good looking and good performing cars, even if they don’t carry the Dodge or Chrysler names. I would expect (and there’s some evidence to support this) that the next Dodge and Chrysler cars are going to be based on models from those two brands, whereas their newer Maseratis are based on the same Daimler platform the 300/Charger/Challenger currently ride. Remember, Sergio wants to consolidate platforms as much as he can, as evidenced how the Cherokee, Renegade and Compass are all on the same general platform as the Fiat 500X, Panda and a couple others. It seriously reduces engineering time to design and modify new models than starting from scratch with every model.

            Expect more for Chrysler in the upcoming years but they’ve first got to eliminate much of their debt, so new design work has to take a back seat to their most profitable brands right now. By NO means would they sell off a profitable brand just to ‘save’ one of their other brands. They’d be more likely to sell off an un-profitable or marginally profitable brand first.

            And as an afterthought, the Alfa could become the new Dodge and Maserati the new Chrysler pretty easily… if it weren’t that they’re trying to bring the Italian brands in as they are. A bit of badge engineering with only minor cosmetic changes to give them some variety and you could have a decent mix of cars and SUVs for very little overall cost. But FIRST, they need to destroy that 40-year-old reputation and the only way they’re going to do that is let those 40-80-year-old people die off so the young people can generate their own viewpoints about the brands.

            Me? From personal experience the cars I’ve had so far are quite good; now that they’ve gotten most of Daimler’s screw-ups out of the cars.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I don’t know if it would be possible, but to create an S-class competitor out of the 300. Stretch it, load it up with every possible option and few that don’t exist. Hellcat motor (but don’t emphasize that fact)buy the magneto-rheological shocks from GM, make it ride real well. Make it with optional camera-grain vinyl roof and fender skirts.

    Or, make a real letter-series 300, with the Hellcat motor (and advertise it as such) again with the magic shocks from GM and an attitude to take on the sporting BMWs.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Stretched 300 (longer wheelbase, longer trunk), standard V8 with hi-po V8 optional, make the upper level (signature?) interior standard, call it an Imperial.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Roughly what I came here to post. As long as you leave off the fiberglass cap and vinyl roof I’ll even tolerate it being called the Fifth Ave. If Chrysler was really brave they’d make the sole engine offering the naturally aspirated 6.4 ltr Hemi.

      Oh and make AWD work with the V8 – lets go all the way.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I think the people suggesting a CUV/van option are onto something, perhaps the right answer is making the super lux hyper-American luxo sedan as truly the halo of a resurrected Imperial line, but then roll out the Imperial-ed versions of some very tarted up CUVs to capitalize. Brand dilution? Perhaps. But it’d be a more sure way to capitalize on the whole attempt. Maybe also take a Challenger and made a personal luxury coupe variant with the same hi-po V8 options (with AWD optional as you suggest).

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          A friend of mine leased a fully-loaded Chrysler minivan about 15 years ago. It had four captains chairs, butter soft leather and a lot of sound deadening. Despite being a minivan, it was a joy to ride in. The upright seating position and smooth, quiet ride made for an experience not seen in American vehicles for a long time. I would like to see it come back.

          Cadillac has already tried to out-German the Germans and, while producing some very competent cars, it has done little for the brand. We can certainly leave the 70s fake bling behind, but the core message of space, quiet ride and comfort, comfort, comfort has some real possibilities.

          This could be a slam-dunk for Chrysler, they have the basic platform.

  • avatar
    detlump

    I think the idea of a luxo-Pacifica is a good one. It was a mistake to base the Pacifica front facsia on the defunct 200, though maybe it was too far along in planning and tooling to change.

    The 300 has a recognizable face, so maybe graft that front styling on the Pacifica. Maybe call it the Citadel. Perhaps keep the existing Pacifica but tool up a unique front end (and rear hatch, pretty easy to do) with unique lighting for the Citadel – don’t call it Pacifica Citadel, just Citadel.

    Then say production will be limited, it will drive sales. Then keep adding production in dribs and drabs so they are sold at or over sticker (hopefully). Worked for Hellcats. People want something they think is rare (the only one in the neighborhood! Wait til they see me in the drop-off line).

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Chrysler needs a new Imperial. A real CAR – not an SUV or crossover, either, but a real CAR – a car that you actually would want to own and drive.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Phil Mickelson signature series of Chrysler’s 2019 full size CUV. Two tone green & yellow paint, caddie included.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Halo Chrysler of my dreams? Definitely an Imperial of some kind, maybe a coupe. It won’t sell, but if the brand’s kicking out its’ last jams, why not go out in style?

    Halo Chrysler of reality? ANOTHER friggin’ CUV, which we need like a surprise wisdom tooth eruption.

    And let’s get real about the “timeline” above, shall we? Supposedly there’s a new CUV coming out for 2019. Last I checked, that’s a year away. Anyone seen any pictures of camouflaged prototypes or test mules yet? I haven’t. That means that this fabled magic-bullet CUV either a) is going to be cobbled together in less than a year, or b) is more FCA vaporware.

    I think everyone knows what my guess is.

    Chrysler’s dead. Sucks, but it’s true.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. It survived the abusive German husband but has been neglected by the rebound Italian romance. From there, it is a short trip to sell off Jeep, the funky child, to whoever wants to adopt, and the check goes to Italy.

      The folks at Mopar have actually done a lot with a very little….it’s like Survivor automotively….

  • avatar
    Bercilak

    A halo car is one that makes people, who wouldn’t otherwise look at the brand, look at the brand. No minivan can do that. I’d say, reintroduce a modern version of the ME 412.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      NOT the 412; you want something that people will aspire to, not something they would only dream about. The 412 is like the Lambo–beautiful to look at but sells only a few hundred per year.

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    Imperial CUV. I prefer sedans myself, but I see where things are going.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Most logical choice for sure.

    But where’s this fabled three row CUV for 2019 that’s going to get the Imperial treatment? I haven’t seen any spy shots. Have you?

  • avatar
    Dan

    A 300, only bigger. China sized backseat. Another foot in the trunk. Raised roofline if development costs allow. Rolls Royce big. And both differently styled and enough more expensive than the regular 300 to keep the hoodrat stink off of it for at least a couple of years.

    A full size BOF SUV built on the Ram platform. This should have been here 5 years ago and the Chrysler version should be the biggest and best. It’s mind boggling the effort that FCA has wasted on compliance garbage like Fiat while ignoring the gaping hole in their lineup.

    Whichever it is, and hopefully it’s both, it needs to be called an Imperial.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      “A full size BOF SUV built on the Ram platform. This should have been here 5 years ago…”

      Agreed, never understood that either. I’m pretty sure that they made a Ramcharger for the Mexico market for a few model years based on the ’94 up Ram. Never understood why it was never offered in the US/Canada….would’ve been a winner I think.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Dan wrote “A 300, only bigger. China sized backseat. Another foot in the trunk. Raised roofline if development costs allow. Rolls Royce big. And both differently styled and enough more expensive than the regular 300 to keep the hoodrat stink off of it for at least a couple of years.”

      Agreed, add in the Hellcat engine and AWD/4wd and price it outrageously. make it the biggest, baddest sedan on the planet.

      Then watch as the ‘celebrities’, professional athletes, and 3rd world autocrats fight each other to order them and create a market for them.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      “A 300, only bigger. China sized backseat. Another foot in the trunk. Raised roofline if development costs allow. Rolls Royce big.”

      Agreed; make it 3-row, 6-door or even sliding rear doors. Sedan profile, optional wagon. Use the 6.4 Hemi N/A.

      “A full size BOF SUV built on the Ram platform. ”

      Absolutely. The Ram 2500 platform. Maybe add IRS in place of the 4-link, standard air suspension. Styled after the 2024 E8 from Logan. You’ll grab the Escalade market with a truck that’s more outlandish yet both more capable and comfortable than any other full size SUV.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I was going to say something, but my mind’s stuck after reading “hoodrat stink”! Never saw that phrase before, but you got me and stopped me in my tracks!

      Bravo!

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Why did they never translate the 300’s design to an SUV? The Aspen was too Playskool in its proportions to work. Make something that rivals the Escalade ESV and Navigator L with the same styling that bookmarked the 300.

    Or the ME Four-Twelve.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Look up the ’62-’65 Chrysler 300 and compare it to the Imperial of the same years. Which one really exudes luxury?

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        Look up the LX-platform Chrysler 300 and compare it to the 2005-2017 Imperial.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I see a concept, but not a marketed vehicle. I accept that it looks something like the 300 and something like the old Black Beauty of Green Hornet days. But that, too, is my point; it shouldn’t have been a 300, it should have been an Imperial from day one because of that resemblance. The 300 looked significantly different back in the ’60 through ’65 years. And turning the 300 into a Charger really hurt the Charger name by making it a sedan rather than a sport coupe like the Challenger. One or the other for Charger/Challenger, not both.

          But now let’s build a three-row SUV based on that old Imperial and drop the 300–or rather, revert the 300–to the old 300-series styling cues.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I agree that Chrysler might best be known for minivans but there is simply nothing aspirational about owning a minivan, even a really nice one. So that idea is probably DOA. Similarly with resurrected Imperial sedan. Any sedan, especially a very expensive one, from Chrysler is bound to be tomorrows heaviest incentive spending queen in order to move them from dealer lots.

    The market wants CUV/SUV, give them the Imperial in a Escalade/Navagator rival with long wheelbase option. Might not be huge volume, but probably high margin, high visibility vehicle.

    If they really want to invigorate the Chrysler brand, small, medium and midsized CUV would do the trick. Buick Encore, Envision, Enclave rivals at more reasonable prices.

  • avatar
    Elliot86

    Chrysler is still around??? Sergio just needs to do a mercy killing

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Sergio is the reason they’re in the shape they’re in.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        … which is a heck of a lot better shape than they were in 20 years ago, when Daimler bought in and started screwing them over. He’s been having to at least try to fix all of Daimler’s damage to them.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          huh? the products that saved them *this* time (2011 300, Grand Cherokee) were in the pipeline before he showed up. There’s plenty of photos out there of Minimum Bob and Tom LaSorda showing off those vehicles in their final form. The fact that they got the “emergency surgery” done on the Avenger, 200, minivans, and Journey so quickly mean they were already in the works. Since then?

          – fumbled the Dart and canceled it
          – fumbled the 200 and canceled it (after taking a very public p!ss on his employees)
          – has let core products like Ram trucks, the Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler stagnate for too long with no attention
          – spent ungodly amounts of money on bad ideas like trying to sell Fiats and Alfas here
          – changes his “five year plans” every year

          the only way he had a hand in “fixing” Daimler’s destruction is by keeping the lights on long enough to get the products in the pipeline launched.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Regretfully, JimZ, you’re talking like an outsider looking in; you apparently have no first-hand experience with the vehicles or their stories. Just as a takeaway, FCA’s been fighting Fiat’s 40-year-old, obsolete reputation for the last 10 years. Even now, that reputation overrides the very real progress they’ve made with every vehicle. I owned a pre-FCA Wrangler; I know the changes they’ve made to improve it while, like previous models, keeping the same body for 10 years. A lot of money making the JK and JKU, models much, MUCH bigger than the TJ. The Dart wasn’t a fumble, it was a government-mandated touchback–the company forced to make a 40mpg version before any other in order to cement the purchase from its governmental regents. Later Darts were actually good, but the reputation was destroyed by the reviews on those MPG models combined with that obsolete reputation.

            The stagnation you mention for the other models were most of all efforts to fix all the mistakes in the Daimler designs–very specifically the cheap materials used to ensure their Mercedes counterparts were the better–and hopefully more desirable–versions. And most of us have heard about the cheap welding Daimler did on those Ram trucks, even going so far as to allow steering boxes to break off the framework. They had to learn everything Daimler screwed up and fix it before they could move ahead with new designs.

            And don’t forget that FCA attempted to flat-out eliminate fully half of the existing dealership network because of the ongoing poor reputations of those dealerships. The Fiat “Studios” were intended to be fully independent but the dealer lawsuit forced them to leave way too many of those abusive franchises in place. I honestly hope FCA has managed to build up a legal portfolio that will allow them to start purging the worst of those franchise licenses.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          You kidding, Vulpine?

          Twenty years ago, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep were all viable brands. Today, it’s all Ram and Jeep.

          Not even close to being in better shape…

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Twenty years ago, they were all in the process of being screwed by Daimler. Need I remind you that their electronics division, one of the best in the industry, was sold to Bosch? FCA is having to recreate nearly everything from scratch; all the things that had brought Chrysler out of its previous bankruptcy got stolen.

      • 0 avatar

        He meant Sergio need to commit hara kiri. It would honorable way to exit this world. I read that in 90s Ford and GM were scared of Chrysler. Chrysler was a design leader. Sergio is inept as CEO he is more deal maker like, well you know who. It will be fun to watch when FIAT comes undone.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      “Chrysler is still around”

      Apparently yes. Even stranger is people want it to stay around!

      I’d shut it down immediately to end the embarrassment. Not sure why they have to turn all these various products into their own random “brands” to begin with. Why is RAM (all caps too?) a brand? What wrong with it being a Dodge? Same for Chrysler, it just a Dodge so why does have a different logo on the hood? Same goes for Fiat. Talk about a NON starter… they have entire brand based on THREE vehicles. Well only one really since the other two are a Mazda and a Jeep. I would just call the Fiat 500 a Dodge Omni/Colt and save all that money on signage, advertising and separate dealerships. Consolidate things under one roof, give people a reason to stay in the Dodge family by offering choices.

  • avatar
    ajla

    TURBINE CAR

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Maybe a luxury SUV based on the RAM with the Hellcat motor and an optional Cummins since car sales are declining anyway. The Escalade is the only other player in that market.

    Or, how about bring back the ME412 with the Hellcat motor instead of the AMG unit?

    If it has to be the minivan, how about the GM shocks with the rumored forced induction V6 and all the trimmings. A super-luxo van with AWD and 450hp.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Halo cars won’t work for Chrysler in the context of their current dealer network. It would require huge investment and a ground-up rebuild and placement of their dealerships.

    All I know is they need to start leveraging the Giulia’s platform NAO. New LX cars on that platform with all-aluminum HEMI V8s would be incredible.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      How about a Giulia with a 6cyl pentastar in it?

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Absolutely – even if it won’t necessarily work as halo cars (and I don’t know if the platform will stretch to a suitable LX-replacement size), small premium sedans and crossovers are a pretty big segment to have no presence in outside of Alfa (and good segments to try and hook lifetime buyers).

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      I wonder how much power the Guilia was built to handle and for that matter how much mass you can stick out over the front axle?

      You can obviously shove a Hemi in there but would you end up with the GT500 effect? Really a glaring example of old school musclecar with more power and more weight over the front end than the cars were designed for ( albeit fun just not a deft handling car)

      Besides the hemi is a comparatively dirty engine thanks to essentially an open chamber design. FCA would probably be better off designing a new compact 4v V8 for a variety of platforms. They have the expertise

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    The Imperial name definitely needs to come back and it needs to reside on something that would challenge Cadillac’s biggest vehicle. It needs to be the ultimate in luxury and not just some badge-engineered existing vehicle across their US lineup.

    And Aspen is the WORST possible name to use as the Aspen was a Dodge nameplate, not a Chrysler one. Granted, the old Aspen was a decent car (I owned one as a semi-luxury coupe) but the name does not offer the sense of pride and exclusivity that Imperial does.

    You want to revive Chrysler, it needs to look the part of luxury, not just copy the names. The 300 should have been an Imperial, rather than reviving an old sport model marque. Andy Granatelli took a 300D to a speed record on Daytona beach on one of the last years they allowed running on the sand. It was a performance care that included luxury while the new 300 has been luxury to the exclusion of (extreme) performance. Daimler is to blame for that mistake. The 300 needs to live up to its historical place and bring a new vehicle to top the lineup.

    The Imperial, as a large, car-styled 3-row, might be what they need. Dump the truck-y look, make it look like a giant wagon. Move the rear door back and have the second and third rows facing each other for pure luxury. Or at least, give it the ability to reverse the second row, and that can be done many ways, including the old railcar method of just pulling a lever and shifting the seat back to the other side of the seat cushion (don’t tell me it can’t be done. Good design should be able to create a seat cushion properly supportive front and back.)

    Really. Put some thought into it and make it what it should be instead of just adapting something you’re already building.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Luxed out coverible that can comfortably seat 5 on a modified Hybrid Pacifica drivetrain with power to all 4 wheels. Advertise the size and the Luxury with Lebron James. LeBron and his LeBaron.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      No convertibles should ever be manufactured with a back seat. As Clarkson said (paraphrased)”only one man in history looked comfortable in the back seat of a convertible, and you do not ever want to be compared to him”.

      And after what happened in Dallas convertibles with back seats should have an image seared in the psyche of North Americans.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The Imperial pictured was a bit of a ‘hash’ job. A Seville styled backend and a sloped approximation of a Lincoln Mark front end. Indicative of Chrysler’s decline.

    When we acquired one of the first Cordoba’s in Canada, the Chrysler name still had some cachet. It was considered just a ‘step up’ by members of ‘The Greatest Generation’ from the PLC’s that had Chev and Pontiac nameplates, even though they were mechanically comparable to their Olds and Buick siblings. OF course that cachet declines dramatically over the next few years.

    Sad, because when a stand alone line, the Imperial was regarded as equal to the finest luxury vehicles. Just check out videos/films of the parades in New York City using the Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaetons.

  • avatar
    mrentropy

    Produce the Chrysler Chronos. With the V10. And fill it up with the luxury items.

    Also, come out with the Barracuda using one of the Alfa frames. Make it a true Mustang and Camaro competitor (the Challenger isn’t, and shouldn’t be).

  • avatar
    chris724

    They should make a stick-shift Diesel wagon with AWD, in brown.

  • avatar
    pb35

    Coupe, a little lighter/shorter than the Challenger with all the engine options. Call it the Plymouth Barracuda, as in Chrysler-Plymouth Barracuda.

  • avatar
    dwford

    There is no Chrysler renaissance coming. FCA isn’t even spending money to do a total redesign of the Ram pickup, based on recent spy photos which just show a new grill on the current body.

    There is no reason to even try to revive Chrysler. There is zero brand equity left, and zero emotional desire to buy a Chrysler anywhere in the marketplace. Chrysler (and Fiat) needs to die so FCA can focus on the salvageable brands.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      What spy shots have you been looking at? The ones I have seen this past week are far more than a “new grille on an old body”.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      There’s a reason it’s called FCA, dude. Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles. They can’t drop those brands without losing their identity.

      What they need is buyers willing to ignore old reputations and try their newer models on their merits. These people might just discover the cars and trucks are better than they think.

  • avatar
    kenwood

    Guys, guys, guys (and gals, and anyone who is unsure) Cars are dying. No one wants a full size sedan anymore. Plus the bones of the 300 are ancient.
    If Chrysler’s gonna do something big, they need to go Escalade-ish AND they cannot use old names for it. Like it or not, SUVs sell. That’s why BMW started making them, then Porsche, and now Lambo, Maserati, Jag, Bentley and friggin’ Aston Martin and Rolls Royce! It’d be a new product and it shouldn’t carry any of the old baggage from previous models that fizzled out and faded away. Give it the name of a bold leader from history like Hannibal, Montezuma or something outlandish, but something that lends itself to an easy nick-name so that the Hip-Hop industry and those in professional sports will latch onto it.
    Maybe stretch the Pacifica platform or use something in the works from Jeep for the three row Cherokee and make it ultra lux. Alcantara everywhere, a fridge, do the crystal glasses, tray tables and the whole rear-seat first class shit. Even if you only sell 500-800 of those option packages – it’s an attention getter. Then, market it with some swagger and attitude. Poke fun at other makes, make the ad campaign humourous. Once it’s established, take it down market, but only A LITTLE, so more people can afford them or get a less equipped one just so they can say they have one. BOOM, you’ve created a brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Just do the Ram SUV with a Hellcat and call it Imperial.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      This. No point in trying to horn in on the shrinking auto market. Luxo-SUV is their only hope. But Jeep is already a player there and could easily support an up-market model….so is there any point in keeping Chrysler around?

      I’d go all-in on Jeep, make the Pacifica a Dodge, and shutter Chrysler. Sorry, but Chrysler has a lot of baggage and the resources necessary to turn that around could be put to better use at Dodge/Jeep. Oh, and RAM too, I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Names are what make them or break them in many cases. FCA specifically needs to keep as many of the old names as they can to relate the new vehicle to its purpose. For Jeep, Wrangler, Scrambler, Renegade, Cherokee, Comanche and Wagoneer are all classic and those surviving names are what is helping their vehicles to sell. Challenger and Charger are still working well for Dodge and for Fiat, the 500, despite its poor reception here in the States, is still doing fairly well on a global basis. So, too, are Alfa’s marques, like the Giulia and the Quattroporto.

      Imperial is a legendary Chrysler name, one that’s been around as long as the oldest of us and more. It has always meant prestige and power, so any luxury model needs to adopt that name.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Many of the comments so far suggest bringing back the Imperial name. To today’s potential buyers, that name means about as much as Marmon or Pierce-Arrow or Locomobile. Or Packard, to take a postwar example.

    Even during the years Imperial is best remembered for today, it lost badly to Cadillac and Lincoln. The most successful year Imperial ever had was the all-new 1957 model, with nearly 36,000 produced, and even that number wasn’t really competitive – about 147,000 Cadillacs and about 41,000 Lincolns were produced during that model year.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Didn’t Chrysler loose money on each and every Imperial they sold in the bad old days? In the western D.C. burbs, Chrysler dealers have as much cachet as Hyundai//Kia dealers. A halo car won’t work for them; besides the dealers would ask 10K over sticker price if Chrysler had a halo car. Sergio/John is just keeping Chrysler/Ram/Jeep alive until they can sell them.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    Chrysler brand needs 3 things,
    1. Products that are relevant to today’s market i.e. crossovers- they need at least a couple of them, one in Chevy trax size and the other in MDX class.
    2. A Differntiatior- I think an all plug-in hybrid lineup will not be too bad. Other things that Chrysler does better in domestics is attention to detail in interiors.
    3. Maybe, just maybe a range topper, but the sales of the brand are too little to support a loss leader, a super 300 may have made sense a decade ago, but it doesn’t now. The only chance I see is an Escalade ESV fighter on Ram Chassis, bench marked against GL class for refinement.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    The 81-83 is highly collectible. Especially the 83. When only 1,427 were produced. 500 of which went to the military, and made into limos. So if you have one of 927 civilian cars..hang on to it!
    I think they are uniquely styled, and have wanted one since I could drive in 82.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I think Chrysler could really have some success with something above the 300.

    That said, what I think they need is a mid-sized crossover, on the Cherokee’s version of the CUSW platform. That’d sell well.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If Chrysler had any luxury cred, it could be successful with some kind of uber-300.

      Then again, it makes one of those – the 300 Platinum. Based on the fact that I found precisely zero of them available within 175 miles of where I live, I think it’s safe to assume that model pretty much bombed.

      Don’t get me wrong – I think the 300 is a terrific car and I’d love to see one like the one you’re thinking about – but I can’t see it selling.

      However, I could see them selling something like a super-premium Pacifica, or maybe an Escalade-type vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        For model year 2018, Chrysler adjusted the 300’s trim levels such that the former Platinum is now called 300C. (The former C is now Limited, former Limited is now Touring L, and new entry-level model is Touring.) Perhaps you’ll find a 2018 300C nearby?

        That said, the 5.7L V8 is now standard in the 300C, which, combined with lack of AWD option, will likely limit the market for the top-end trim. The former Platinum was available in RWD/V6, AWD/V6, and RWD/V8 configurations.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Perhaps you’ll find a 2018 300C nearby?”

          Not that I can find. And I appreciate the info. But honestly, no matter what the nomenclature is, if a top-of-the-line 300 doesn’t sell – and they’ve been trying to sell one for some time now – what sense does an even higher priced 300, or any higher priced Chrysler sedan, make?

          • 0 avatar
            MLS

            I agree, there’s probably no market for a Chrysler sedan above the 300.

            But I believe there’s potential to push the upper boundary of the full-size segment a bit higher, much like FCA’s done with Grand Cherokee. First, Jeep introduced the Overland trim, and then a few years later the Summit above it, such that it’s now possible to equip a non-SRT Grand Cherokee to nearly $68K. With continued development, the 300 could creep beyond its current $51K ceiling and take advantage of the Cadillac XTS’ impending demise.

            Upon introduction of the refreshed 2015 300, Chrysler forecast that the top-trim Platinum would constitute 5% of sales. While I’ve no idea how those plans panned out, consider that Chrysler’s offered a high-end trim since at least 2012 (in various guises: Luxury Series, Platinum, and now simply C), so I imagine it’s been profitable enough to warrant the continued effort.

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    repackage the Durango with a Fiat interior, call it the Aspen. Make the “Denali”/”Citadel”/”Avenir”-like trim level standard.

    Then cross fingers that the Chrysler brand still has some pull.

    ideally this avoids the need to offer a 3-row XL Jeep Grand Cherokee aka Grand Wagoneer or Commander.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Concorde. LeBaron (neé 200).

    New Yorker, offered as a 300 submodel.

    Imperial! Based on the 300, even more luxury and more space.

    Pacifica is a crossover name, bring back Town and Country for the minivan and save Pacifica for a crossover.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      All due respect to your obvious Pentastar Pride, but I remember all of those cars, and I say no to all of ’em.

      (Well, maybe an Imperial…but the market for flagship luxury sedans is shrinking, and Chrysler’s cred in that market ended around the same time that “Star Trek” got cancelled.)

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    As I’ve said before, take the Challenger’s tooling and do a high-luxe 300/Imperial coupe. So you only get 20k sales a year, it can all be done from the parts bin.

  • avatar
    V16

    The 300 in Platinum level, is close to a full on luxury ride.
    A better value than the CT6, and the new Continental.
    Extend the wheelbase, and step up the interior with unique color choices/materials like the current Indigo/linen.

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      In addition to the indigo/linen color scheme, Chrylser is offering new black/deep mocha leather on the upper-level 300 trims (Limited and C) for 2018:

      http://st.motortrend.com/uploads/sites/5/2017/08/2018-Chrysler-300C-front-interior-view-01.jpg

  • avatar

    Imperial SUV. Take it right to the Escalade’s front yard, and make the MKX hide behind bushes, while using the Escalade “bling where they aint” approach to ze Chermans.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I think a high-end Pacifica hybrid is a pretty good halo car now. A China sized version of the 300 might be an acheivable halo. I always liked the 300M. Stretching the 300 for a halo would allow Chrysler to market a longer Dodge Charger replacement for law enforcement. One with a hybrid drivetrain and a suitable trunk.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Why did Chyrsler ditch the long wheelbase version of the 300 anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      They didn’t. It’s still 120.2 inches, same as the Charger. The Challenger is the same platform, but the wheelbase has always been 116 inches.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        Chrysler offered a long-wheelbase version in the 300’s first generation, beginning with the 2007 model year. The vehicles were modified from standard by a third-party limousine/hearse builder, but sold through Chrysler dealerships with a factory warranty.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    It’s obvious: a 300C (V8) based wagon, jacked up and AWD, but call it Town and Country, complete with fake wood cladding. That ought to do it.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Call me crazy but that ’83 Imperial in the photo really grew on me over the last two days.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I’m not sure what neighborhoods you all live in but Chrysler is a dead brand as it stands today. Nobody in their right mind would be caught dead in either of their offerings. Plenty of Honda and Toyota minivans around the upper middle class suburban enclave but not a single FCA model. Those are for service vehicles. Lots and lots of BMW, Mercedes, some Lexus…nada on the 300. Those are driven by drug dealers and wannabe gangsters. There are some Chargers from dad’s wanting to relive the 70’s just like there is the guy with the new Lincoln Continental and the random Corvette. Meanwhile the masses are driving CUV’s from every brand and Accords/Camrys/Fusions en mass. Oh and I forgot – plenty of hybrids too.

    What CHRYSLER needs to do is develop a good (i.e. quality) FWD platform that can compete with the mass production vehicles from the competition. They did that in the 1990’s with the LH cars. They went down a rabbit hole chasing the next fad for 20 years while Honda & Toyota kept refining. Look where it got them… A brand-new competent platform that can have a competitive mid-size sedan, CUV and hybrid to fill the mass market is what’s needed – not a halo or uber-luxury or any niche. Those spots are taken and quite frankly, not going to cede ground.

    Out engineer the Camry and Highlander…that should be the challenge – and personally I’d love to see it, just not wagering money on it.

  • avatar
    YeOldeMobile

    I’m really late to this QOTD, but the way I see it Chrysler has very limited options considering FCA’s current brand strategy.

    The nigh-mythical Chrysler SUV probably depends a lot on the Stelvio if not the 2018 Wrangler chassis, considering we haven’t seen any concepts of it yet. But while a Chrysler SUV will probably sell well (one of my co-workers has a Chrysler SUV he loves), I think Chrysler’s halo car should be a…

    hybrid Chrysler pick-up truck.

    Chrysler is already leading FCA in the US in pursuing green and low-emissions tech with the Pacifica hybrid. And Chrysler is still pursuing a luxury image with the new Pacifica and the old 300. If they can produce a convincing hybrid pick-up that can borrow some of the power of Dodge and feature luxury to compete with Ford and Chevy, I think it could be a surprise hit for them.

    People say that Chrysler doesn’t have any brand cachet left. I think that’s more true on the coasts and internationally, but here in the Midwest I do still see new 300s, new Pacificas, and the occasional Crossfire, 200, or other relic on the roads. In order for Chrysler to be successful, it has to build a proper, distinct brand identity that aligns with the 300 and Pacifica. And if Chrysler still wants to stick with the strong, tough, “imported from Detroit” image, a pick-up truck would provide some real-world strength that the brand lacks, and feed off what remains of Chrysler’s name in the interior of America while potentially creating new market opportunities.

    I also think it’d be funny as hell to see Chrysler die on the hill of hybrid utility vehicles.

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