New Chrysler 300 Fuels Trade-ins of Popular Import Cars

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Sedan draws converts to American car

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    Nick Davis of Bloomfield Hills is one of a growing number of people to trade for a Chrysler 300. He swapped his Jaguar X-Type for a 300C with a Hemi engine.

    Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News
    Thursday, July 8, 2004

    AUBURN HILLS — Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche likes to tell a story about a Chrysler salesman who was nearly fired recently when his boss noticed the dealership’s used car lot was stocked with hard-to-sell BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac models.

    Fortunately for the salesman, he hadn’t purchased the luxury cars at auction. They were taken as trade-ins from buyers of the new Chrysler 300 sedan.

    Since hitting the market in April, hordes of U.S. car buyers are trading in everything from Hondas to Jaguars to get behind the wheel of Detroit’s new sedan.

    “We haven’t ever seen that before,” Zetsche said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “And this is not one dealer or five dealers telling us that. It’s very much across the country.”

    It’s too early to say whether the 300 sedan will bring U.S. buyers back to American passenger cars after they’ve been migrating to Japanese and European models for years. But there is more than just anecdotal evidence that the uniquely styled rear-drive sedan is changing some minds.

    That’s good news for Chrysler, which has promised for almost four years that a stable of new products will restore profits.

    The automaker, a unit of Germany’s DaimlerChrysler AG, generates about 70 percent of its sales from minivans, trucks and sport utility vehicles, and is banking on the 300 to gain a stronger position in the passenger car market.

    The 300 is appealing to buyers who did not consider Chrysler before, including foreign car owners and luxury buyers, according to dealer sales data tracked between April 1 and June 13 by J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network.

    Among the top 20 models traded for the Chrysler 300 are the Nissan Maxima, Toyota Avalon and Honda Accord — all from Japanese automakers — while the top 10 trade-ins include models from U.S. luxury brands Lincoln and Cadillac. Though not ranked as high, cars by foreign luxury marques BMW, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz are also coming in.

    Cadillac and Lincoln owners are nearly six times more likely to make a trade for a 300 than for any other Chrysler model. Nissan owners are almost twice as inclined to swap for a 300.

    Nick Davis, 38, of Bloomfield Hills recently traded a 2-year-old Jaguar X-Type sedan for a Chrysler 300C, the top-of-the-line 300 with a V-8 Hemi engine.

    “It’s night and day,” Davis said when asked to compare the two cars. “The 300C feels like it rides smoother and offers much more luxury. It’s a totally different vehicle.”

    The 300’s sticker price — ranging from $23,000 to $38,000 — is one of its biggest draws, said Eric Ryan, general sales manager of Birmingham Chrysler Jeep. “Nowadays, cars are so expensive that they cost more than some people’s first homes. This car gives you great content with a real reasonable price.”

    Value aside, the car’s bold, muscular styling and large chrome-plated grille have a visceral appeal that is making some buyers forget their love of foreign makes.

    After owning two Hondas and a Lexus during the last eight years, Greg Jacobs, a 34-year-old paint salesman from Westland, said he was charmed by the regal-looking sedan with the big wheels and low roof line.

    “If it wasn’t for the 300, I wouldn’t have gone back to American cars,” Jacobs said. “I would have continued to drive foreign.”

    Jacobs said he is enjoying a monthly payment that is $175 less than the payment on the Lexus he traded in for his 300C.

    Though Zetsche said the core customer for Chrysler vehicles will continue to be former Chrysler owners, the early trade-in numbers on the 300 tell him the brand is reaching a new audience.

    Our dealers “are meeting customers they’ve never seen in a Chrysler dealership before,” Zetsche said.

    “This doesn’t mean that 80 percent of our customers will come from (luxury and foreign) brands, but it’s amazing the number of people who are leaving their BMWs, Cadillacs — you name it — to buy a 300.”

    Through June, Chrysler had sold more than 36,000 of the new sedans with minimal incentives, about five times the sales of its predecessor — the 300M — during the same period in 2003.

    The performance has helped lift Chrysler to a 2.3 percent sales gain this year. It is also fueling optimism that the 300 — one of nine new vehicles from the automaker in 2004 — will help return profits.

    The 300 was designed to be a mid-market competitor to such models as the Nissan Maxima or Honda Accord at the low end, and luxury models such as the Acura TL or BMW 545i at the high end.

    Consumers taking a serious look at the Chrysler 300 are frequently cross-shopping it against those cars, as well as the Nissan Altima, BMW 3 Series and the new Dodge Magnum wagon, according to Edmunds.com, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based Web site that provides data for prospective car buyers.

    Gary Dilts, Chrysler’s senior vice president of sales, said it is hard to pin down exactly who the audience is for the new 300 because it keeps growing and changing.

    “We’ve not seen a vehicle with this wide a reach and level of interest, certainly not in my history with the company, and maybe ever,” he said in a conference call this month to announce the automaker’s June sales.

    One of the more interesting surprises has been the 300’s appeal to rap artists such as 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.

    New York City’s 50 Cent has helped lead a trend toward bigger wheel rims on the car that has made the 300 a darling of the vehicle accessory industry. And last month, Snoop Dogg left a voice mail message for Zetsche asking for a new 300 and promising, “if you want this car to blow (up in popularity), give it to me.” Last week, Chrysler was finalizing a deal to feature the 300 in a music video by Snoop and his West Coast rap buddies, Mack 10 and Nate Dogg.

    “That car is catching every spectrum of the market,” Dilts said. “The hip-hop stuff is interesting. We’ve got a lot of youth market interest in the vehicle, but we have all the way into the senior markets getting the same kind of reaction.”

    In a survey last month, the 300 was rated as the new vehicle with the most buzz in the market, beating out 41 other recently launched or about-to-be-released models. The survey, conducted by Kelley Blue Book and Harris Interactive, polled 2,000 people who intend to buy new cars during the next 12 months.

    Of those who viewed the Chrysler 300 favorably, 68 percent were male, and more than half were over 45.

    Respondents gave the 300 high marks for being “aggressive,” “confident,” “exciting,” and “sophisticated,” said Rick Wainschel, director of marketing research at Kelley Blue Book, who led the study.

    “Chrysler has done a great job of getting the word out about this vehicle,” he said.

    Now, dealers are just trying to get a 300 to everyone who wants one.

    “I get five or six 300s a day, and they’re gone within 48 hours,”
    said Ryan at Birmingham Chrysler Jeep.

    At the end of June, Chrysler reported less than a 30-day supply of the 300, said company spokesman Kevin McCormick. An optimal inventory is 60- to 70-days’ worth, he said.

    Even with the high demand, Chrysler is offering a $1,000 discount on the 300 for those applying for loans through DaimlerChrysler Services, the automaker’s finance arm.

    Dilts calls the rebate an “insurance policy” to keep sales brisk.

    But Zetsche said he was firmly convinced, even before the 300’s launch, that it would be a hit that could help the automaker rebound from crushing losses in recent years.

    “We are not at a point where we can say, ‘We are there. Everything is done,’ ” Zetsche said. “But there are very encouraging indications that we are on our way.”

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  2. JoeyCrack

    JoeyCrack Active Member

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    I wonder if they are going to be so happy about them in 2 years when they need a new transmission :o
     
  3. bioyuki

    bioyuki Ich habe Angst

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    Cheap bling.
     
  4. VBGOD

    VBGOD Guest

    :cool:

    Suck a dick, haters.
     
  5. coronet

    coronet Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep?

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  6. hypermonkey

    hypermonkey Tastes just like raisins.

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    that's one of the cars my father was considering. dunno if he still is :dunno:
     
  7. anjego

    anjego Invading your economy!

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    :cool:

    that means that the market is getting flooded with inexpensive used Audis & BMWs
     
  8. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Incredibly styled and priced luxury car with torrid performance. It poos all over the Seville, Deville, Lincoln LS, Volvos, Jaguars, and numerous other cars, and it costs thousands less than all of them.

    It's not surprising really.
     
  9. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

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  10. mucky

    mucky .

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    I'd trade my Honda for a 300C, but only for the C. No Hemi, no care.
     
  11. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

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    bmw m3's aren't there though :wtc:
     
  12. Squeezer

    Squeezer Guest

    i've only seen 4 of them on the road, i guess they aren't popular here :dunno:
     
  13. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The five speed automatic is from the Mercedes E-Class, and the car carries a 7 year/70,000 mile powertrain warranty.
     
  14. Bobby Ballsack

    Bobby Ballsack I could be a friend to you

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    I want a black one, with a blacked out grill, and black 20's. :eek4:
     
  15. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

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    Sweet!
     
  16. crunchy

    crunchy ๏̯͡๏)

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    I've thought that car was badass from the first time I saw it.

    The article says it's a surprise rap artists want them, but doesn't the thing scream "Put 24's on me nukkaaas!"
     
  17. JoeyCrack

    JoeyCrack Active Member

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    that doesnt mean a broken down car is any less of a hassle...and having a friend thats a Mercedes service writer makes me doubt the long term reliability of this kinda stuff
     
  18. mucky

    mucky .

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    They need to bring out the 300C Touiring. :x:
     
  19. spofoman

    spofoman Active Member

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    aka dodge magnum :p
     
  20. CyberEye

    CyberEye Oh god, the voices

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    Checked one out the other day. Not sure if I like it better then the CTS though :dunno:
    The crossfire was yummy though :yum:
     
  21. KyngNothing

    KyngNothing My own little world...

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    I wish I could just call and leave a voice mail for the CEO of chrysler :hs:
     
  22. mucky

    mucky .

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    Obviously.
     
  23. CyberEye

    CyberEye Oh god, the voices

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    On my way to wasaga beach last weekend I saw AT LEAST 30 car haulers full of the 300C and whatever the wagon is (magnum?).
     
  24. spofoman

    spofoman Active Member

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    no point in having both of them, really

    it'd be like the pontiac sunfire and chevy cavalier
     
  25. mucky

    mucky .

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    No point? How about one being the mainstream (Magnum) and the other being the upscale (300C T). Vertical brand marketing. Chrysler and everyone is doing this anyways.
     

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