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Chrysler’s next-gen 300 shapes up

American dream: Chrysler has just revealed the facelifted 300 at the LA motor show, but the next-gen version is not due for another three years.

Next Chrysler 300 to go more international but will keep strong American flavour

Chrysler logo24 Nov 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

CHRYSLER’S top-secret third-generation 300 due in about 2017 is set to gain a more international flavour while retaining the bold American styling motifs that have made the series popular.

According to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles senior vice president product design Ralph Gilles, the next version is already under development with input from many of its export markets, including Australia.

While he refused to reveal what the company’s plans for Australia are with the 300 once the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore cease production in 2016 and 2017 respectively, Mr Gilles did say that Chrysler is very aware of Australia’s rapidly changing automotive landscape.

“The 300 has always been considered for Australian buyers,” he told journalists at the Los Angeles auto show last week.

“Australians love the same types of cars as Americans – big, powerful models.

Our business centres in each market are always talking to us… and the first thing we do when we start on a car is capture their intent.”

While Mr Gilles also declined to divulge any direct information about the redesign, due inside the next three years, he said the details that helped make the 2005 original an instant classic would surface on the Mk3 version, including a strong face, distinctive cab-backward silhouette, aggressive proportions set off by big wheels and a confident stance.

This suggests that the 2017 300 might retain rear-wheel drive, but this is yet to be confirmed.

Conflicting rumours persist, including that it may adopt a variation of the Maserati Ghibli platform, share the RWD architecture of the upcoming 159-replacing Alfa Romeo Giulia mid-sizer, or switch to a front/all-wheel-drive base.

One area where the Chrysler would leave its predecessors behind is in quality and craftsmanship both inside and out, promising that buyers would recognise the advances from the first look and feel of the car.

Nevertheless, Mr Gilles says the 300 will wear its American design and engineering prowess on its sleeve, leaving people in no doubt of the car’s Detroit parentage. It is, after all, one of the biggest reasons why consumers have been attracted to the series over the last dozen years or so.

“I’d rather export our goodness rather than try and be something we’re not,” he said. “American, but more international at the same time. It’s about staying true to your DNA.”

In keeping with US buyer patterns, Mr Gilles confirmed that there are no plans for a 300 wagon for the next-generation model.

“We only offered the original 300C wagon for Europe and Australia, because there isn’t a market for it in America,” he said. It wasn’t even sold here.

Americans would much rather SUVs like the Durango.

“The last one was basically the Chrysler nose on the Dodge Magnum wagon body.”

Chrysler dropped the 300C wagon when the Mk2 version arrived in 2011. Australia is due to see the facelifted version of that car before the end of 2015.

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