Detroit - DaimlerChrysler has dropped some content on the Dodge Intrepid ES sedan and reduced its price and the price of its premium Chrysler LHS sedan to boost sales in the 2000 model year.
The redesigned Intrepid had a disappointing launch in late 1997 and early 1998. To help drive sales, Dodge took a number of steps, including a revised advertising campaign, an attractive lease offer and dealer education. The effort worked. Sales of both the Intrepid and Intrepid ES through August rose 49 percent to 96,190.
But Dodge is not done yet.
The 1999 Intrepid ES was equipped with a standard 225-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 engine as standard, while the base Intrepid carried a 200-hp 2.7-liter V-6. The 2000 Intrepid ES now has the 2.7-liter V-6 as the standard engine. But the automaker was able to squeeze out 2 more horsepower and boost the torque slightly. Peak torque now is 195 pounds-feet at 4,200 rpm, up from 190 pounds-feet at 4,850 rpm.
Also gone are the standard antilock brakes. The end result is an $870 price cut on the Intrepid ES to $22,645, including destination.
The Intrepid ES represented only 30 percent of Intrepid sales, said John Welsch, DaimlerChrysler's senior manager of large-car operations.
'So we decided to take some content out of the ES,' Welsch said. 'Now it aligns well with the (Pontiac) Grand Prix and other sporty competitors.
'We are repositioning the vehicle to keep that momentum going,' Welsch said.
The Intrepid has carried a $1,000 cash rebate since April 1, he said.
The content changes set the stage for the Intrepid R/T model with a 3.5-liter V-6. It will be introduced in the spring as a 2001 model. The 3.5-liter engine will generate 242 hp and 248 pounds-feet of torque at 3,950 rpm.
Sales of the Chrysler LHS, built on the same LH platform as the Intrepid, also have not been meeting expectations. So Daimler-Chrysler lowered the price of the 2000 model by $860, to $28,685, including the destination charge.
Through August, DaimlerChrysler sold 14,960 LHS sedans, up 73 percent from January to August 1998. But during the same period in 1997, LHS sales totaled 27,642.
The 2000 LHS has only a few changes, including bright chrome exterior window trim.