2014 Chrysler 300- The Lights Are Still On In Detroit

CAM00612[1] Being the smallest of the Detroit “Big Three”, Chrysler has often been regarded as the runt of the litter.  Compared to GM and Ford, the Pentastar brand has the least global influence, fewest models, and the most shallow pockets.  However, being the most diminutive of the American brands means that Chrysler has to be a determined warrior and more creative to make itself heard.  Even though headlines may focus on the turbulent relationship with Daimler or the troubling times that led to a government bailout, Chrysler has had its fair share of success stories to make the company viable throughout the years.  Three decades ago, the brand essentially created a whole new segment, called the minivan, that was revolutionary at the time and has since been copied by car makers around the globe.  The LH full-size sedans, the Dodge Intrepid, Eagle Vision, and Chrysler Concorde, set the standard for “cab-forward design” twenty years ago by utilizing as much interior space as possible and pushing the wheels to the car’s corners long before it was mimicked by others.  Ten years ago, the LH series had ran their course and were ready for retirement.  Instead of doing a mild touchup or going for a more European derived style, as was becoming the trend in Detroit, Chrysler did not shy away from risk and introduced a new series of wagons and sedans that not only grasped good ol’ fashioned American style, but smothered themselves in it like cheese and bacon over french fries.  The 2005 Chrysler 300 and it’s Dodge Magnum and Charger counterparts, introduced at the New York Auto in ’04, basked in the glory of everything American; big, bold, crude, rear-wheel drive, large engines, and exhibiting a chiseled, masculine, retro style that looked like nothing else on the road.  In the true Yankee sense, the 300 had also claimed itself some badass notoriety, being featured in rap videos and serving as Walter White’s ride on “Breaking Bad” once he became a feared and successful meth dealer.  Under the new leadership from Fiat, Chrysler redid the 300 for 2011 to keep things fresh, but sensibly didn’t stray too far from the original formula that made the car an overnight sensation.  Now a decade later, is the 300 still worthy of all the hype?

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2012 Chrysler 200- Life Is A Beach

If there were a car that captured the essence of Coney Island, it would be the Chrysler 200.  Both the modest convertible and world-famous amusement park offer the promise of some beachside fun in the sun, cheap thrills, and are unashamedly American.  Sure, they’re old-fashioned and traditional in some ways, but as our friends in Brooklyn would say: faaahhhhggeeetttaboutit!  What matters most is that they offer lots of smiles and bang for the buck.    The main difference between the two is that the Chrysler doesn’t have an annual hot dog eating contest, although it could be an excellent marketing strategy…..on second thought, maybe not.
If the name “Chrysler 200” doesn’t ring a bell, don’t feel bad because you’re not alone.  You may know it better as the Chrysler Sebring.  Introduced in 1995, the Sebring replaced the immensely popular LeBaron and Chrysler continued to hold onto the niche mid-size convertible market with solid sales for over a decade.  However, a disastrous redesign in 2007 made the Sebring ungainly and undesirable.  Buyers stayed away in droves and the car’s popularity took a nose dive.  By 2009 sales were a third of what they were only three years prior.  With the Fiat merger and government mandated restructuring in 2009, a hasty restyle of the Sebring was pushed out to market in an attempt to regain sales and the name was changed simply to “200”.  The new moniker was to distance the car from the blundered outgoing model and to ride the coattails of Chrysler’s successful flagship; the 300.  The move has seemed to have paid off and sales are near to what they were in the Sebring’s glory days.

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