Chrysler 300C: The Stretched Version
Chrysler is planning on building a stretched version of the 300C, a car that will receive favor by the livery crowd. One drawback: a price premium as high as $5000 over the standard model!
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As automakers go, developing well received models is a chore all by itself. When a model becomes a hit, as has the Chrysler 300C, the result is favorable press coverage, high customer satisfaction ratings, and a “halo” effect that can extend to the entire product line. Chrysler’s 300C is a hit, but the German-American automaker isn’t stopping there. A stretched version of the car is being developed, one that may find a following amongst enthusiasts, but only if the price is right.
So, why would DaimlerChrysler authorize a stretched version of the 300C? For several reasons including:
The Limo Market – Although the 300C is not on the same level as the Lincoln Town Car or Cadillac DTS, the car does compete with the Ford Crown Victoria. Hence, taxi and limousine operators will be drawn to the stretched 300C as the car gives its passengers the room that they need.
The Pursuit Market – The Ford Crown Victoria is the most popular police pursuit vehicle followed by the Chevy Impala. Chrysler long ago ceded this market when they quit building larger rear wheel drive automobiles. The stretched 300C could fit in nicely and give the automaker some additional sales to boost market share. Look for a similarly stretched Dodge Charger to also be built once 300C demand has been proven.
The Luxury Market – No, the 300C is not a luxury car, but a model coming down the pike 3-4 years from now will be. Yes, the Chrysler Imperial will be returning and it, too, will be a stretched version of the 300C, but even longer and larger than the stretched version of the 300C. Don’t think for a moment that DaimlerChrysler will not be measuring demand for its new 300C to determine Imperial demand.
For the record, there are a few things that we know about the bigger 300C: the car will be stretched only by six inches and all of those gains will show up in the rear passenger area. In addition, Chrysler will not be building the stretched 300C, instead an outside supplier will handle the task of taking existing models and reworking them.
Prices for the bigger 300C haven’t been finalized yet, but they may carry a premium of as much as $5000 over the shorter model. This is a concern, however, as the price may be more than what some livery drivers could justify. Perhaps DaimlerChrysler will eat some of the costs and hold the price down to a $1000 premium. If they don’t, the company could be in for a rude awakening and find demand for the stretched 300C to be tepid at best.