Chrysler Gives Its Okay To The Imperial
The ultra luxurious Chrysler Imperial will be returning as DaimlerChrysler gives the car its blessing. However, you will have to wait as the car will show up as a 2011 model.
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A venerable name in autodom is being resurrected and it will soon grace the body of a large, rear wheel drive luxury car. After a successful “concept car” debut at a pair of recent auto shows, the Chrysler Imperial will be built and should be in U.S. showrooms in 2010. Yes, it will be a long wait for the Imperial’s return but the car must first await additional changes within DaimlerChrysler before it can be built. Read on to learn more about the Imperial’s impending return.
The Chrysler Imperial that has been currently making the rounds at various auto shows has been well received. Visitors have remarked favorably about the car’s Bentley like look as well as its cavernous interior and luxury appointments. Currently, the brand has nothing larger or more luxurious to offer buyers who might want to upgrade from the 300C, thus Chrysler has been regularly losing buyers to more luxurious brands, something parent DaimlerChrysler [DCX] wants to stem.
The Imperial name can be traced all the way back to 1926 when Walter P. Chrysler decided to take on Lincoln and Packard with a luxury model all of its own. From its inception, the Imperial has always represented the top of the line vehicle for Chrysler and it has, at various times, been marketed as its own make. Various versions of the Imperial have shown up over the years, with most of them being ultra luxurious versions of Chrysler’s New Yorker model.
The 2011 Chrysler Imperial will be similar in design to the concept car, but without the suicide doors. Chrysler put the special doors on the concept car in order to make it easier for auto show visitors to see inside the vehicle. Still, reports from the company are indicating that the 22 inch wheels, Bentley grille, boxy body, and leather/wood trim would be included. Prices for the Imperial will not be announced for several more years, but it could retail for as high as $60,000 according to some reports. Currently, the top of the line 300C maxes out at around $42,000.
So, why the hold up? Well, for one thing the Imperial program will be an added expense for DCX. Currently, the company is in the process of making its Mercedes line up more profitable and that involves the expense of updating several models. Based on the Mercedes “R Class” body, the coming Imperial is likely to be built on an updated version of the R Class platform. Both cars would arrive in dealer showrooms at the same time as 2011 models, hence the long lead time.
The Imperial concept sits on a frame with a 123 inch wheelbase. The car measures 214 long, much longer than the 300C. Reports are indicating that the concept car dimensions are likely to be retained.
For Chrysler fans, the Imperial represents further strengthening of the Chrysler-Mercedes relationship. By using a Mercedes platform, the Imperial can be built and will give Chrysler a much needed product. With a standard V8 mated to a five or six speed automatic the car will certainly not be on the fuel efficient side. However, my best guess is that the car will also come optionally equipped with a thrifty Mercedes built turbo diesel, a first for any Chrysler car.