The 300 may be dead, but the Chrysler brand could live on

Weep, V8 fans, for the Chrysler 300 is no more in Australia, but new developments suggest the brand itself could live on with a new purpose

Chrysler Badge Jpg

UPDATE, February 13: Despite earlier news that Chrysler has killed off the big 300 SRT hero sedan, the brand itself looks to have been thrown a lifeline by the boss of its global parent company, Stellantis. 

Formerly part of the smaller Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Chrysler now lives in a much larger stable – thanks to the recent merging of PSA Group (Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, Vauxhall, DS) and the FCA brands. 

Our story below touches on reports that the Chrysler brand might be put out to pasture, in a move to consolidate the number of brands under the Stellantis banner.

In an interview this week with The Detroit News, Stellantis chief Carlos Tavares described Chrysler as a "pillar" of the group – although his team is still determining just what the storied American brand's "vision destination" might be.

"It is an opportunity for us to make the brand rebound," Tavares said.

"We do not forget that Chrysler was in the past the expression of the automotive American technology, the best technology available at that point in time. Perhaps there is a connection there that we can do and protect ourselves in the future – perhaps using other ideas like autonomous vehicles, zero-emission vehicles, highly connected vehicles.

"This is something that is still in the works. I don’t think we have concluded anything so far."


The story to here

UPDATE, January 10: Vale the affordable V8... Chrysler's 300 SRT is no longer available for sale, ending a more than decade-long run on Australian soil.

Chrysler rolled availability back to a single SRT variant in 2020, but it appears US demand for Hemi V8s has spelled the end for the venerable four-door here in Australia.

Reports suggest that FCA will fulfil standing 2021 orders owed to the NSW Police Force, who use a law enforcement-spec 300 SRT as a highway patrol car alongside the diesel-powered BMW 530d.

It was the last remaining V8-powered rear-drive four-door sedan on the market that costs less than $100,000.

A 6.4-litre Hemi V8 cranks out 350kW and 637Nm through an eight-speed auto to the rear wheels of the five-seat, four-door sedan.

This second-generation car, launched in 2011, can trace its lineage back to the launch of the original 300 in 2005 – itself based on parts pilfered from the W211 Mercedes-Benz E-Class when Chrysler and Daimler were bedfellows.

Once available with V6 petrol and even diesel power, the 300 (or 300C as it was once known) morphed into a pure V8 play.

The future of its parent company is in doubt, too, after US parent FCA finalised its merger with Peugeot-Citroen owner PSA to form Stellantis, which is looking for quick cost savings amongst its 14 newly merged brands.

Significantly, the 300 SRT is Chrysler’s only car in-market in Australia, while its overseas portfolio comprises three elderly cars in total, with no replacements planned.

The market for large sedans continues to shrink worldwide, as well, with Chrysler 300 sales sliding more than 35 per cent in the US last year as its customer base moves towards SUVs.

 

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