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Boom sales for cut-price Chryslers

Out they go: Chrysler lops $15,000 of its 300C.

Buyers flock to massive price cuts of up to $16,500 for some Chrysler models

3 Dec 2010

CHRISTMAS has arrived early for Chrysler customers, who took advantage of price cuts of up to $16,500 in record numbers last month.

Chrysler’s volume-selling 300C large sedan came in for hefty price cuts of more than $15,000 in November, just months ahead of its successor’s release in North America early next year.

The 300C had one of its best sales months on record in Australia last month thanks to an advertised price of $39,990 drive-away for the entry-level 3.5-litre petrol V6 automatic sedan variant from November 1, representing a price reduction of more than 27 per cent from its previous sticker of $54,990 plus on-road costs.

Similarly, although the 300C Touring wagon has been discontinued, 5.7-litre V8 petrol and 3.0-litre V6 diesel versions of the 300C sedan also brandished $15,000 price cuts in November, representing a near-25 per cent reduction from $60,990 plus ORCs to just $45,990 drive-away.

The top-shelf 6.1-litre 300C SRT8 sedan now costs $64,990 drive-away - $10,000 or more than 13 per cent less than before ($74,990 plus ORCs).

As a result, 300C sales spiked by more than 400 per cent, from just 43 in October to 216 in November.

Buyers of the US brand’s Sebring Cabrio – the sole remaining Sebring model available in Australia following the axing of the Sebring sedan earlier this year – are the biggest beneficiaries of Chrysler’s price cuts, with the 2.7-litre soft-top manual price dropping by almost 35 per cent to $31,490.

11 center imageFrom top: Chrysler Sebring Cabrio, Dodge Nitro, Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The Sebring Cabrio hard-top, which also comes standard with a six-speed AutoStick transmission, is now also $16,500 cheaper - at $35,990.

Sebring Cabrio sales jumped by 186 per cent in November, from 29 in October to 83 last month, helping the Chrysler brand to lift from just 97 sales in October to 338 in November – a 248 per cent increase.

As we’ve previously reported, however, the next-generation 300C remains up to two years away from Australian showrooms, with a late 2012 due date likely to mean the brand’s top-selling model will become unavailable at some point when supplies of the current model dry up some time in 2011.

Chrysler Group Australia’s senior manager of marketing and corporate communications, Dean Bonthorne, told GoAuto that despite reports to the contrary a replacement for the current 300C would not be seen in Australia next year.

“Depending on the running rate we will have enough stock to sell to our plan, but it may not be a seamless transition to the new model,” said Mr Bonthorne.

Over at Dodge, the base price of the mid-size Nitro SUV has been reduced by $8000 or 20 per cent, with the entry-level 3.7-litre petrol SX auto dropping from $39,990 to $31,990, while the flagship SXT auto remains at $42,990.

Including the sole remaining Caliber hatch variant and three versions of the Journey people-mover, total Dodge sales surged by 64 per cent to 272 in November – up from 166 in October.

Finally, Jeep’s Grand Cherokee flagship is up to $10,000 more affordable than before, with the entry-level Laredo CRD diesel reduced by almost 17 per cent, from $59,990 to $49,990.

Both the Overland 5.7-litre V8 and Limited CRD diesel are now priced at $59,490 – a $9500 or near-14 per cent reduction on their previous price of $68,990 – while the range-topping 6.1-litre Grand Cherokee SRT8 is $6000 less expensive than before at $85,990 (down 6.5 per cent from $91,990).

Jeep’s November sales increase was less impressive at just six per cent – up from 501 in October to 529 last month.

Including all three brands, Chrysler Group Australia’s overall sales lifted by 49 per cent in November compared to the previous month – 764 versus a record-setting 1139 – although it remains well down in year-on-year terms.

In other November price list changes, Toyota has discontinued both versions of its Avensis people-mover, which found just three Australian customers in October and 379 so far in 2010 – about half of its 2009 tally.

In contrast, two new additions to the Australian auto market are the Aston Martin Rapide ‘Luxe’ and new Bentley Continental GT.

On sale from December 1 for $399,336, the new flagship of Aston Martin’s four-door Rapide grand tourer range adds a wider variety of paint and leather finishes – plus more bespoke accessories – than the standard Rapide ($366,194), which runs the same 350kW/600Nm 6.0-litre V12.

Joining the Bentley range from November, meantime, was an upgraded version of the Continental GT Coupe, priced at $405,714.

It features a more powerful 423kW/700Nm (up from 412kW/650Nm) version of the Continental’s 48-valve 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine, which is now E85 ethanol ‘flex-fuel’ capable and returns combined fuel consumption of 16.5L1/00km and CO2 emissions of 384g/km.

GTC ands GTC Speed versions of the Continental convertible have been discontinued, leaving the 463kW Supersports variants at the top of the coupe ($506,311) and convertible ($531,631) ranges, the 449kW Flying Spur Speed ($397,485) as the flagship Continental sedan and the new 377kW 6.75-litre Mulsanne limousine ($657,057) as the top-shelf Bentley.

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