Chrysler Group set prices for the 2011 300 sedan, the company's “flagship” vehicle that began production today in Brampton, Ont.
Chrysler is pitching the 300 as an American alternative to European luxury sedans, but with a lower price tag. Chrysler is offering the 300 in four models:
• Chrysler 300, priced at $27,995.
• 300 Limited, $31,995, (with luxury package, $35,245).
• 300C, $31,995.
• 300C AWD at $41,145.
All prices include an $825 shipping charge.
“The 300 is the flagship of the Chrysler brand,” CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a speech at the Brampton plant today. “This all-new 2011 model has a lot to live up to.”
Chrysler spokesman Jiyan Cadiz said the company has begun shipping some cars to its business centers, though none have reached dealerships yet. The car goes on sale later in the first quarter.
Chrysler 300 prices are higher than those of its fraternal twin, the Dodge Charger, by about $2,000 per car on average. Charger prices range from a $25,170 base to $38,145 for a fully-loaded R/T with all-wheel-drive. The two cars are built on the same rear-drive platform and also manufactured at Brampton.
The pricing strategy is similar to the one Chrysler is using on its minivans. The Chrysler Town & Country will sticker at a higher price than the Dodge Grand Caravan. Chrysler is trying to tailor vehicles built on the same platforms to different groups of customers.
The 300 will be available with Chrysler's latest infotainment technology including an 8-inch Garmin navigation screen with Sirius Travel Link.
The 300 gets a new interior, which will be available in a package called the “luxury group,” with a long list of the kinds of amenities found on luxury sedans. Those include a heated leather steering wheel, 12-way heated and ventilated power seats, LED-illuminated door handles and heated- and cooled cupholders.
The 300 will also be offered with a package of optional active and passive safety features called SafetyTec Group.
The 300 also will be offered with Chrysler's 3.6-liter, 292 hp Pentastar V-6 engine or a 5.7-liter, 363 hp Hemi V-8. The all-wheel drive version has an active transfer case and a system that automatically disconnects the front axle when conditions permit, thus increasing fuel economy up to 5 mpg.
All Chrysler brand models get an extensive makeover for 2011 including the Town & Country minivan, the Chrysler 200 (the renamed replacement for the Sebring mid-size sedan) and the 200 convertible, which will be unveiled this spring.
The 300 originally launched in 2004 and was a big hit, arguably the most successful product of the decade-long DaimlerChrysler partnership. With its bold design, the original 300 showed a uniquely American take on the large sedan segment. It stood out in sharp contrast to generic import and domestic front drive sedans that had come to dominate the segment.
The ‘flagship' vehicle
Chrysler is hoping the new 300 will duplicate the success of its widely praised predecessor and spur a resurgence of the Chrysler brand, which has seen declining sales in recent years and which has the lowest sales volume in the Chrysler Group.
In building the 300 and Charger, Chrysler is using what it calls the “World Class Manufacturing” system, Fiat's interpretation of Toyota's manufacturing methodology. World Class Manufacturing is designed to eliminate waste and improve efficiency, thus improving vehicle quality.
Chrysler spent $12 million to put a new laser braising system at Brampton. A laser beam helps form a seamless transition between the roof and door opening. Brampton is the first Chrysler plant to employ the process, conceived by Fiat. Chrysler also spent $20 million on a new “metrology center,” which uses the latest electronic inspection equipment to measure and validate a vehicle's sheet metal structure to the tiniest tolerances.