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Chrysler 300 to give large-car segment a boost

Point of difference: Chrysler Australia says its new 300 will offer something unique, and will appeal to buyers not convinced by traditional offerings.

Success for the 300 to help rather than hinder Falcon and Commodore, says Chrysler

Chrysler logo12 Jul 2012

By MIKE COSTELLO

FINDING success for the new 300 sedan is important not only for the fortunes of Chrysler in Australia, but for the dwindling large-car segment as a whole, according to Fiat Chrysler Group Australia managing director Clyde Campbell.

At the launch in Melbourne this week, Mr Campbell said the company saw an opportunity to offer something unique and different to the current large-car offerings, but that any positive attention on a car like the 300 would filter down and benefit other cars in the segment.

“The 300 is not just important for us ... its actually important for the industry, from our perspective,” he said.

“The segment that this particular car plays in hasn’t received a lot of good press for, I don’t know, ten years, it’s all been doom and gloom and you cannot win in this segment. Everybody is dwindling away.

“It doesn’t have to be that way. We think that there is a way to make this segment work, and that if we do make this segment work, it will be good for the industry and anybody who earns their income from the industry.

“This is the segment that is the staple of manufacturing in this country, and we think it’s important that we show that you can succeed in this segment.”

11 center imageLeft: Chrysler's Clyde Campbell.

Mr Campbell said the new 300 would offer something new to fans of the existing rear-drive large-car, both in its price and positioning relative to the competition.

“The large segment has largely been characterised by the top end and the entry level, and the consumers have pointed out that we are not really happy with the value equation at either end of the segment,” he said.

Mr Campbell said the company’s research showed that more premium German rivals for the 300, such as the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, were a “troubling” value proposition for some buyers, while the dominance of fleet sales at the lower end of the Falcon and Commodore ranges meant private buyers were not seeing the value in those cars either.

“That doesn’t mean that we’re going to necessarily be a big volume seller, but we believe that we’ve got a philosophy that will work not only for us but with the industry at large in this particular segment,” he said.

As we have reported, the new 300 range (see separate story) is comprised of four specification levels with three engine options – including V6 petrol and diesel units and a thumping 6.4-litre Hemi V8 in the SRT flagship – priced from $43,000 to $66,000 plus on-road costs.

Mr Campbell said the 300 could herald growth in the Chrysler brand akin to that of Jeep, sales of which are up 127 per cent this year, on the back of product renewal – most notably the new Grand Cherokee – and a recognisable marketing campaign.

GoAuto understands that Chrysler has secured about 2000 units of initial stock for the 300, and while the company will not confirm sales numbers, this should ensure initial demand will be catered for.

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