QOTD: Where to Go for a Chrysler Halo?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd where to go for a chrysler halo

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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  • 200k-min 200k-min on Oct 25, 2017

    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.

    • JimZ JimZ on Oct 25, 2017

      "What CHRYSLER needs to do is develop a good (i.e. quality) FWD platform" people don't buy platforms.

  • YeOldeMobile YeOldeMobile on Oct 25, 2017

    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.

  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys for that money, it had better be built by people listening to ABBA
  • Abrar Very easy and understanding explanation about brake paint
  • MaintenanceCosts We need cheaper batteries. This is a difficult proposition at $50k base/$60k as tested but would be pretty compelling at $40k base/$50k as tested.
  • Scott ?Wonder what Toyota will be using when they enter the market?
  • Fred The bigger issue is what happens to the other systems as demand dwindles? Will thet convert or will they just just shut down?
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