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Chrysler's errors

Old 12-17-2007, 11:02 PM
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Default Chrysler's errors

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, how it seems that Chrysler's formula has been very hit or miss in the last few years and wanted to know what your opinions were on models that have been less than successful or less popular than they should have been.

Avenger:
I personally like the Avenger and think it was a breath of fresh air from the Stratus sedan which I didn't like because of what I considered to be a very dull looking interior and lack of performance from the powertrain choices. I think the problem the Avenger has currently is that although its an improvement over the Stratus, it wasn't enough to be competitive with the best in the industry. Chrysler like the rest of the industry has been using more and more hard plastics (which I really hate). Although I think the interior looks interesting, I think they need a wider color choices and offer contrasting colors to make it more interesting.

The powertrain choices although an improvement (somewhat) did not hit the potential they could have been. The new World Engine is one of the more powerful engine choices, the problem is the transmission they have hooked up to it. The 40TES although a slight improvement over the previous 41TE with the added VLP, is still only a 4-speed unit in an industry that has mostly switched over to a 5-speed to be competitive if not a 6-speed. They should have made a version of the 6-speed for it to be more competitive. The 2.7L is an engine that I think has worn out its welcome. The oil sludge problems that tarnished Chrysler image in the 2nd gen LH cars and Stratus/Sebring returned with these problems resolved but with two remaining problems, lack of power and lack of refinement. I can tell a very little difference between this and the I4. They should have looked into possibly reviving the 3.2l SOHC and giving it the 6-speed with taller gearing for the middle engine choice. The 3.5L engine choice was a good one, the problem was they didn't let it reach its full potential. The version they dropped in produces roughly 235hp & 232ft-lbs of tq, which is 20hp & 26ft-lbs less than than the best output that engine ever experienced. The full 255hp & 258ft-lbs of tq would be the bare minimum offering for the current marketplace dominated by the Japanese competition which is producing 268hp and 248ft-lbs of tq for the less performance minded offerings with the more performance minded ones producing 270hp & 258 ft-lbs of tq. To combat the more performance minded competition, Dodge would have to chose one from one of two decision: more performance through more displacement and NA, or more performance through less displacement and forced air induction. The best decision would probably be to offer the 4.0L like they have done with the SEMA storm trooper model as this is a more mainstream and higher probability that people will want to get it since forced air induction models tend to have higher insurance premiums, though it might be a good decision offer the SRT-4 to make this compete directly against the Mazda Speed6 as a car to get the youth's attention.

I have mixed feelings over the styling. Although I like it, I think that Dodge could be chasing away people who don't like boxy styling and losing the crowd that they gained so much popularity with through aerodynamic styling. Perhaps making the Avenger look more like the smooth looking original Avenger might have been the wiser decision.

Sebring:
The interior in the current Sebring in my opinion just looks weird. Less hard plastic, more soft materials that looks more like a luxury sedan and less like something from Mars. The exterior styling though I liked it in the pictures in the beginning, I'm liking less and less as time goes on. They definitely need to go for a more aerodynamic treatment, but keep it interesting. Perhaps base it off that sedan concept that looked like an Eagle Talon. The powertrain changes are also necessary. The base e
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:46 AM
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Default RE: Chrysler's errors

Right on!

Avenger - Manual needed sporty midsize w/ no manual transmission?
Sebring - Beautiful 90's early oughts latest gen, blech
Pacifica - Crossovers, I just don't get'em, it always looked to me like a chopped minivan
Crossfire - Sorry. Loved this car and like when they started goosing the engine offerings

Look forward to tomorrow.
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Old 12-18-2007, 11:57 AM
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Default RE: Chrysler's errors

My thoughts on this are thus:

Avenger - the shrunken-Charger look is starting to grow on me. BUT... the car is saddled with WAY too many "if onlys". For example:

- If Only... the build quality was much more on a par with Honda (and to a lesser extent, Toyota, which would still be an improvement). Granted the build quality isn't BAD... but it's still not where it should (or could) be.

- If Only... their biggest V6 put out a more paltry 235 hp. Honda and Toyota V6s of the same size are cranking out 268+, leaving the Avenger already outclassed. This "good enough for what it costs" mentality is what got Chrysler into such a pickle in the first place.

- If Only... they didn't get such crappy gas mileage for their size. The R/T with its 3.5 V6 is rated at a mere 17 MPG in the city, whereas my 07 Camry SE with the 3.5 V6 (with much more HP) is rated at 19 (and actually achieves it).

Granted the car does have some pretty cool gadgets like the lighted chilled cupholders... but until Chrysler actually gets serious (for once) about making a competitive mid-size car, it will continue to be outclassed by the competition.

Sebring - unlike the Avenger, this one HASN'T grown on me (quite the opposite, actually). I suppose the convertible is passable (the previous generation was no beauty queen, but it was alot better looking than this new one), but the sedan is downright ugly. Here Chrysler had a clean sheet to work with, and what does it do? It recycles the old Saturn Ion design - hardly an inspiring design to begin with. A complete and total disappointment. A redesign won't come soon enough.

Pacifica - An idea way ahead of its time. It got off to a bit of a rocky start but it eventually redeemed itself in the last year or two with decent build quality and competitive drivetrains. I kinda think it's a shame it's going away as the crossover category is really starting to take off (for example, the GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook/Buick Enclave). If Chrysler redesigned it more in the same vein as the new aforementioned GM crossovers, I think they'd have a real hit on their hands. But I guess we'll never know now.

Crossfire - Never cared for it, this one I say good riddance to. Again, if Chrysler designed it in the same vein as the Cadillac XLR I think its fate would have been alot different. Instead they offered it as a watered-down previous-generation Mercedes SLK. The convertible I guess looked OK, but that coupe... the side profile always reminded me of a dog squatting to do its "business", which is why I could never take it seriously. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:02 AM
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Default RE: Chrysler's errors

There is no passion in the Chrysler car line. In addition, there is no focus or direction. Chryco needs to define itself. It's probably never going to have a huge market share, but it should focus on building desirable vehicles and become profitable. The 300 is now passe and looks bloated, the Avenger is a shrunken cheaper version of the ugly Charger (which should have been called something else since it has 4 doors), the Caliber gets horrible mileage for the size (30 MPG hwy, give me a break). Sebring, Bah, rental car blandness. PT Cruiser, not too bad, but getting old and you don't notice them any more. They need to start building cars like the Camry and Accord. Reliable, economical, with a reputation of having good resale value. Maybe simplify things and make an economy car (32/38 mpg), a pony car, midsize (24/34 mpg) , and full size (18/24 mpg). Three lines with 2 door, 4 door, and wagon variants. Two or three trim levels, with minimal options. Keep it simple. And upgrade the interiors. One 4 cyl, two V6's (from one block) and two V8's (from one block). Don't be afraid to look to Europe and Japan for design cues. Make all the cars Chryslers, all the trucks, minivans, and SUV's Dodges. Combine at one dealership, but give the cars the classy image and the trucks the rugged image. Drop the Viper. It's over priced and no one buys it anyway. Focus that effort on your pony car. There, I feel better.
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Old 12-19-2007, 04:10 PM
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Default RE: Chrysler's errors

I may not be able to do exactly as many as I hoped at this point, but I'll do my best.

Magnum:

The primary problem with the Magnum is the fact that although the attempt to draw people from SUVs because of the AWD capabilities and much better fuel economy and storage room is limited by a very important factor, I can't carry any more people than either a Charger or 300. This begs the question of why a person who was driving a Explorer or Trailblazer should even consider this over the sedans when it lacks the extra rear seat. I tried to sway a number of my friends who have only two kids to consider the Magnum as it is a more practical choice but they all answered that they wanted a third row seat for when they had to bring their children's friends along with them. This is what I see as the primary problem.

The next problem I found was the price for the right engine and which wheel drive. The 2.7L was the standard engine and after having test driven a lighter, more aerodynamic Intrepid with this engine and finding this engine to feel inadequate with the power and torque band's characteristics, I'm sure the added weight and boxier design did not help anything in this department. The first choice that people would most likely consider is the SXT powered by the 3.5L. The problem is that the RWD version alone costs between $27-28K and the AWD version costing $29-30K, a person could purchase an Explorer with 4WD that has the desired third row for about $28-29K and be satisfied with the base level engine. Although you would be able to make up the difference in fuel prices, it still makes the Magnum seem like a lost cause without the rear row as there are many two row CUVs that get similar mileage for a better price. Having a Hemi or two Hemis is not enough to guarantee success in every segment. The way to resolve this problem is by using an engine that was designed for and used in heavier vehicles. The 3.3L V6 would be the ideal choice. This engine will not win any contests in terms of track times; however, the strong level of torque found throughout the band and increase by about 20ft-lbs would help remedy the weakness feeling. After having driven an 02 Caravan many times, I can tell you that although the 3.3l isn't fast it at least feels adequate which the 2.7L does not and the Caravan weighs slightly more and the Caravan actually has taller gearing. With this base engine, they should have offered the AWD system as an option. At least this way they could undersell the SUV competition while offering similar seating capacity. People who would feel that this engine was not enough could chose from the other engine offerings.

The next thing is besides performance, Dodge had nothing to bring an alternative audience besides performance because some people really don't care about performance (hard to believe but its true). In the current marketplace, the demand for vehicles that get better fuel mileage is the desirable. A hybrid idea would be suicide as this would offend the customer base and the hybrid fans would not be drawn to a car like this. The direction that this car should be drawn towards diesels. Offering a current diesel would provide competitive performance, reliability, fuel economy like a economy car.

Dakota:

The Dakota seemed to be doing excellent until the current generation. The biggest problem was most likely the looks. The previous generation Dakota (97-04) was arguably the best looking Dakota, if not the best looking compact-mid-sized class truck of all times. The 04-07 is arguably the worst looking Dakota. Chrysler's styling has gone down hill by taking pages from GM's styling and I can't figure out why. They need to smooth out the looks and get rid of the edges. The latest Dakota with the new much better looking grille is a step in the right direction, but it will take further work. The other problem with the Dakota was the interior. The p
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