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Fiat Chrysler Australia committed to 300 SRT8

Big Down Under: Fiat Chrysler Australia has said it remains committed to keeping the 300 SRT8 here because of strong demand, even if the car is no longer sold in the US.

Chrysler 300 SRT’s future bleak in the US, but Aussie demand will keep it here

Chrysler logo25 Jul 2014

CHRYSLER looks set to kill off the 300 SRT in the United States due to slow sales, but strong demand will keep the car alive here, with Fiat Chrysler Australia confirming its commitment to the car.

In an interview with automotive website Motor Trend, Chrysler brand president and CEO Al Gardner said sales in the US of the high-performance version of the 300 sedan were slow.

In June, just 1.7 per cent of Chrysler 300s sold in the US wore the SRT badge.

Mr Gardner said he would make a decision in the coming months on whether the Chrysler 300 SRT was viable.

It is a very different story in Australia where the Chrysler 300 SRT8 has proved something of a hit for the company's local arm.

Fiat Chrysler Australia director of corporate communications Karla Leach said the car’s high take-up here will see it continue to be offered, regardless of what happens in the US market.

“SRT variants (SRT and SRT Core) account for over 25 percent of Chrysler 300 sales in Australia,” Ms Leach told GoAuto.

“We are committed to keeping the SRT models in our Chrysler 300 line-up based on this continued consumer demand.”

Australia is not the only area where the Chrysler 300 SRT is selling well – the Middle East is another huge market for the performance car.

With this in mind, Chrysler may decide to continue producing the car at its Canadian plant in Ontario and export to overseas markets, while only selling regular versions of the 300 domestically.

SRT – which stands for Street and Racing Technology – is a high-performance division within the Chrysler group, and the SRT badge appears on sports versions of some of the company’s regular models including the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

In May, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles revealed its five-year plan for each brand under its Italian-American umbrella, including Chrysler and Dodge.

Under the plan, the Chrysler brand’s priority is to fight off the threats from perceived rivals Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Hyundai and Honda in the mainstream segments, with no future SRT models planned.

Dodge on the other hand has been nominated as the performance car flag bearer in the Fiat Chrysler stable. Four future Dodge models will wear the SRT badge including the Dart small car, a D-segment mid-size CUV, the Challenger sports coupe and the 300 SRT’s sibling rival the – Charger sedan.

The demise of the 300 SRT seems certain – in the US at least, but strong interest in the Australia, and the fact that the mechanically related left-hand drive only Dodge Charger is not available here, should keep it safe.

So far this year, 1036 Chrysler 300s have found homes in Australia and with SRT8 making up 25 per cent of that total, about 259 performance variants have been sold.

Sales of the 300 have dipped by 14.6 per cent this year compared with the same period last year, but it still rules the roost in the upper large under $100,000 segment, with Holden's locally built Caprice the only other presence with 603 sales for the year.

The biggest seller for Fiat Chrysler in Australia is the Jeep Grand Cherokee with 8610 sales since the start of the year. Chrysler says about 20 per cent, or 1722 units, are Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8s.

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