What Bugs Me About the 300


equivalent-engined
What "equivalent" engined BMW's etc., are you referring to? The 300 is quicker than the 5 and 7 series V8's. And makes more power.
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I agree. Which models are they talking about?
The only cars off the top of my head that cost what the HEMI model costs are pretty much base models. What's $30,000 USD get you in a BMW? (a decontented 3-Series), an Audi (A small A4 base model, maybe with AWD but no S4), Mercedes? (A vanilla C-Class 4-cyl turbo?)
While I like all of these cars, they're NOT "equivalent" price-wise -- especially with a V8 option.
-FPtM "Really hating the USD <-> GBP <-> Euro conversion rates.
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I said equivalent-engined (meaning engine size), so yes, the other cars are dearer by at least GBP 10 000 (USD 17 000) in the UK, where car prices are somewhat higher than in the US. BMW 545 and Merc E500 were named as the chief opposition.
Fortunately I just found the review online: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2105-1092860,00.html
In Europe, especially in the UK with its many winding roads, we have a particular interest in road-holding, cornering etc. Simple high acceleration is not itself sufficient to make a car well-performing. In any case, even 1.4-liter cars can go at 100 mph.
DAS
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

How much is the "average" car (or the 300C specifically) in the UK as expressed by the number of days that a person earning the "average" wage must work in order to buy the car?
Or more specifically, what is the ratio of the cost of a 300C in the UK and USA and what is the ratio of the average wage in the UK and USA?

Please cut and past that article here. A subscription is required to view it from that link.

I take it the 300M was an extreme rarity in the UK, as opposed to Europe in general (or Germany, Holland, etc). I've always seen a few 300M's in my European travels in the past few years (once in Amsterdam where it was a taxi).
Daimler, IMO, never had a good explanation as to why they didn't give Chrysler vehicles more exposure or marketing (or distribution?) in Europe (where cab-forward styling would give the owner some visual distinction among the visual banality of most cars). The 300M is a very distinct-looking car in Europe.
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Very roughly the national average wage is GBP 24 000 (c. USD 43 000 @ 1.8.)
Until about now you could not buy easily certain Chrysler models in the UK, such as the 300s, as the official dealers did not sell them.
Even now the 300 is not listed:-
http://www.chryslerjeep.co.uk/chrysler/r5/home2.asp
Thus no price yet. In the review there was an estimate of GBP 30 000 (c. USD 54 000).
However, the 300M is officially sold in Germany, where it starts at about EUR 40 000 (c. USD 48 000 @ 1.2).
Just cruise around the Chrysler website for all this info.
I think this shows you why these cars don't sell well -- far too expensive for what you get (if you rule out exclusivity). This was confirmed by data I collected for the Sebring convertible, which I drove in the US last year. It would have been nice for the US price, but at its European price it does not compete well with the Merc cabrio, which is similar in size, i.e. a full 4-seater. And with the Merc I get a much bigger range of engine sizes.
Having said that, I think there are more 'American' Chryslers in Europe (even from pre-DC days) than from Ford & GM because, AFAIK, there are no Chrysler factories in Europe any more, so any sales here have to come from North American factories. Very different for Ford and GM, who produce vast volumes here, both under their own names and under bought-in brands (Volvo and Saab to name but two).
Now that Chrysler has a German/Euro parent/partner, I am sure it will get more exposure in Europe, especially in Germany. Don't forget that Jeeps already sell quite well and have been for years. There are quite a few PT Cruisers in the UK and the Grand Voyager is a respectable competitor in this 'Renault Espace class'.
In the UK in particular these cars (Ford and Vauxhall) dominate the Top 10, so neither GM nor Ford would have any interest in bringing over cars from the US.
They do exist, even those long limos (incongrous in London!), but they are special imports via specialist dealers or individuals.
Look at these websites to get price ideas: http://www.ford.co.uk/ie/build http://vauxhall.co.uk/showroom/priceGuide/index.jhtml?vehicleType Êr
List prices are usually discounted, but I wouldn't know if it's more than, say, 5%.
Top 10 sellers in UK in first quarter 04:-
43,115 Ford Focus 33,355 Vauxhall Corsa 29,479 Peugeot 206 27,217 Ford Fiesta 23,496 Vauxhall Astra 22,283 Renault Megane 21,688 ditto Clio 19,067 Ford Mondeo 18,366 VW Golf 17,830 Peugeot 307
In Germany the Top 10 are quite different, dominated by VW/Audi, Merc and BMW:
http://www.kfz-auskunft.de/kfz/pkw_neuzulassungen_2003.html
These are the figs for year 2003.
Finally, here is the full text of the Sunday Times review article. I do not subscribe so I don't know what the problem was. I even tried clicking on the link in the msg I posted -- no problem. I have written nothing further after article -- this post is long enough!
May 02, 2004
First Drive: Andrew Frankel drives the Chrysler 300C
A triumph against the odds
By the standards of the modern BMWs, Audis and Jaguars against which it is intended to compete, the new Chrysler 300C is a flawed car. And this from a marque whose image would be confused were it not already barely detectable. So it says something about the power of charm that these words are flowing from my fingers with an enthusiasm I cannot remember any 30-grand saloon engendering in the recent past. The 300C is not a very good car but, to the right sort of person, it may just come to be thought of as a great one.
I'll explain. Think of a Chrysler and there's an equal chance that anything from a large MPV, a retro-funky hatchback, a cute coupé, a small saloon or even an 8 litre supercar could float through your mind. We know they come from America, but it's never seemed clear what their focus in Britain was.
This speaks of a brand personality more splintered than split, and adding a large saloon to the unlikely mix would hardly seem to help bring a sense of cohesion. Bringing the 300C to Britain - as Chrysler will next year - seems at first a triumph of optimism over common sense, and even pure folly when you consider its merits relative to the German opposition.
Its platform is evolved from the E-class Mercedes - not the one you can buy today, but the previous generation, a car I was writing about 10 years ago. The only truly Chrysler element of the running gear is its engine, which, instead of being a Stuttgart-designed multi-valve marvel with a quartet of camshafts, is a simple slice of Detroit metal with two valves for each of its eight cylinders and a single camshaft. They call it the "Hemi" because its combustion chambers are hemispherical, something of an innovation when Chrysler began making Hemis in 1952.
At first glance the 300C appears to be the worst of all worlds: a cynical plundering of obsolete engineering to be foisted upon a public the company must hope wouldn't know a good car if it ran them over.
Then again, just look at it. It is a masterpiece from front to back - I love its high waist and short glasshouse. Unmistakably, unapologetically American, it oozes cool and confidence.
Now turn your attention back to its mechanics: the old E-class chassis was a class act then and so it remains. And as for that apparently antediluvian engine, it's actually brand new and, in one respect at least, a sight more clever than any European rival. Boasting 5.7 litres and 340bhp at maximum effort, if you choose merely to potter it automatically turns off half its cylinders, boosting fuel economy by 10-20%.
Use all eight cylinders and the 300C is quick - the claimed 0-62mph time of 6.4sec seems conservative. Its Mercedes five-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and slick but I'd have preferred a slightly louder, more raw exhaust note for that authentic muscle-car sound.
The age of the chassis shows most on tight roads, where the stiff steering feels lifeless, the nose heavy and the ride jittery. Give it some space, however, and a decent road surface and it can be hustled along at a pace you'd need an unusually well driven European saloon of similar power to eclipse. It's also refined enough for normal conversation to take place at 130mph.
My biggest quibble is with the interior. It's a triumph by American standards but is still miles behind the Audis of this world. There are too many hard plastics, poorly fitted panels and unrelieved expanses of grey to come close to the quality the customer now expects. It's not exactly a grand saloon in the US fashion, either - space in the back and boot is acceptable but no more.
Which is why I struggle to see how the 300C Hemi (and the 3.5 litre petrol and 3 litre turbodiesel variants) is going to tempt buyers from the German quality manufacturers. It may be that Chrysler is able to sell the 300C for more than £10,000 less than the equivalent BMW or Audi, but in a market propelled by a fanatical desire to drive the "right" car I doubt even that will be enough.
All is not lost, however. Chrysler should point the 300C in a different direction. There is good evidence that the market for large mass-produced saloons is waning, with Ford and Vauxhall for example electing not to replace the Scorpio and Omega. This provides an opportunity the 300C can exploit, particularly as Chrysler aims to shift just 2,000 a year in Britain.
It is a car that oozes charm. And who cares about a lack of brand image when you're selling against cars as forgettable as a Peugeot 607 or Volvo S80, or as conspicuously ugly as a Renault Vel Satis? If I was offered a 300C as an alternative company car to any of the established players in this class, my fleet chief would lose his arm at the elbow.
VITAL STATISTICS
Model: Chrysler 300C 5.7L V8 Engine type: V8, 5654cc Torque: 340bhp @ 5000rpm / 387 lb ft @ 4000rpm Transmission: Five-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive Suspension: (front) coil springs, double wishbones, anti-roll bar (rear) coil springs, multilink axle, anti-roll bar Performance: 0-62mph: 6.4sec / top speed: 155mph Price: £30,000 Verdict: More than makes up in charm what it lacks in image and outright ability Rating:
THE OPPOSITION
Model: BMW 545i SE, £41,925 For: Driving experience, engine, build quality Against: Highly individualistic styling will polarise opinion
Model: Mercedes E500, £43,750 For: A consummate all-rounder Against: More expensive, quality not what it used to be, especially inside; dealers can be poor
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

The average per capita income in the US last year was somewhere between $30k and $32k. The price of a base model 2004 300M is $29k.
So basically a 300M is priced right at the point where it takes the average US worker about 1 years worth of salary to buy. In the UK it seems the average worker must work about 1.25 years to be able to buy a 300M there. No idea why it should be that way...

Huh? If you mean there are no European cars with Ford or GM badges, well, maybe, but I think that cars wearing Ford badges are somewhat common. Certainly more common than Chrysler cars.

Were there ever?

Don't hold your breath. The 300M was introduced either very shortly before or after the merger. For most (or practically all) of the 300M's life, Chrysler HAD a strong European "partner" (owner, really). Did it do any LH car any good? No. Why should that change now?
If Voyagers or Jeeps had any over-lap with Merc models then you can be sure that Daimler wouldn't sell them in Europe or anywhere else other than North America.

I've been saying that for a year now.

Hatchback? What is that guy smoking?

Again with the saloon. Where the f*ck does that term come from?
A saloon is where you went for a drink and a gun fight a hundred years ago.

Was that the generation that suffered horrendously from quality issues that put Mercedes at the back of the pack in quality rankings?

Huh? I thought the 5.7L hemi was 3 or 4 valves-per-cylinder. You mean it's not?

Yes. Especially since it prevented Chrysler from getting extra value from it's LH design by evolving the LH into the RWD platform it was designed to handle. Especially since it prevented Chrysler from turning the truly stunning 300N concept into a production car by late 2001.

This is from a UK writer. What American cars does he see anyways? He's obviously never seen the inside of a 300M - note he makes NO comparison between the M and C.
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Sure... Simca.

PT Cruiser, which is the best-selling Chrysler in Europe, I think.

Neon.
Aw, come on.

It's a 2-valve pushrod motor.

The Cadillac STS, Corvette, Viper, Neon, Voyager, and the outgoing Camaro were all sold in the UK.
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Jack Baruth wrote:

Uh - is Simca a city, a town, or a type of car?

Um, now that's got to be wrong. Doesn't "saloon" refer to what we in north america would call a "large sedan" ??? If so, there's no way a Neon is a "saloon". And I think it's a stupid term anyways.

What a dog's breakfast assortment. Still, the guy should have compared the interior of the C to that of the M (or other recent LH vehicles) before he makes a statement about the current (or previous) state of american (or Chrysler) vehicle interiors.
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www.allpar.com/model/simca.html
Poking fun at the US is almost mandatory for UK auto writers. One of my favorite US car comments came from CAR which, referring to the outgoing Camaro, said it had "shutlines a horse could make love to".
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MoPar Man wrote:

Have you ever climbed into the "average" car in Europe?
Travelled across a country in one (well Switzerland isn't much of a country, is it)?
A Neon is a large sedan!!!!
Dan
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Anyone see the new Audi A6? The grill is just about a copy of the 300 style. Looks like Chrysler has started a trend with the butt-ugly front end.
Matt
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Mopar Man has to ask what a Simca is? Oh My! :-)
Check out http://www.centuryinter.net/SIMCA/page2.html for a little history on the car.
Steve B.
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MoPar Man wrote:

Still applies (to cars) today for Rapp "artists".
Bill Putney (to reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with "x")
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Yippee. Another "automotive" publication that ASSumes "complicated" is a synonym of "works better."

And something of an embarassment to Stuttgart in that it outperforms their "multi-valve marvels" no doubt. At least I suppose they can still dismiss it with a sneer, a wave of the hand, and "oh, well it only produces 1 HP per cubic inch." As if that actually MATTERS to the driver...other than meaning much better reliability and lower component stress.

MThe 5.7 Hemi is, and always has been, a TRUE HEMI. That MEANS two valves per cylinder. 4 valves imply a pent-roof chamber, not a Hemi. 3 valves mean a Stuttgart loser. It also is a pushrod engine, but that is neither here nor there as you can have an OHC true hemi if you want to do it.
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I think most of your queries have received answers from other, e.g. Chrysler having plants in Europe (Simca, France). Actually also Rootes(GB), Chrysler's first shareholding being bought in 1964. If you have the patience you can plow your way through this lot: http://www.team.net/www/rootes/history.html
Here are some more interesting links: http://www.allpar.com/world/rootesus.html http://www.allpar.com/model/eurocc.html
The English factory (Coventry) was sold to Peugeot in 1978.
The English word "saloon" is, to my mind, entirely equivalent to the US "sedan" in that it describes a shape ('three-box') and has nothing to do with size.
On re-reading my para about "'American' Chryslers" I see that it was rather unclear.
What I meant was that there are many more US-factory-made and designed-for-US cars from Chrysler in Europe than from GM and Ford, as these two companies manufacture in Europe in several locations in vast quantities, so would have little commercial interest in importing 'American' cars in large volumes.
Ford sells its mainstream cars with the blue oval, i.e. under the Ford name. (Rest are Volvo, Jag etc.
GM sell its mass cars under Vauxhall in the UK and under Opel everywhere else. For the last 25 years or so the difference between Vauxhall and Opel has been the badge. Before that Vauxhall had a distinct product line. (I bought one of the first Vauxhall-badged Opels -- Vauxhall Cavalier -- in 1979, when it was about two years old. It was still slightly distinctive in that its nose was that of the sportier Opel Manta and the rest of the Opel Ascona.) http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Vauxhall%20Cavalier
It caused quite a lot of amusement and puzzlement when I took it into an Opel dealer in Germany for a service, as they had never seen one (wasn't sold in Germany).
Finally, you may be right about the UK writer having insufficient experience of US Chryslers and, indeed, I don't agree with another poster that the Viper etc are available officially everywhere in Europe. I don't think it was ever sold through Chrysler in the UK.
For the current 'official' range sold in the UK see here: http://www.chryslerjeep.co.uk/chrysler/r5/home2.asp
They have started selling the Crossfire:
The Neon has been sold in the UK for some years. Numbers are probably quite small but one of my acquaintances has one with a 2-litre engine. As it happens, I saw him last night so asked him for his opinion (bearing this thread in mind). He is quite happy with it and is on his second, with which he has done about 98 000 miles over 4 years. He feels that for the money it offers quite a decent package and is a bit different. However, he is soon looking for a new car and will consider others as he already had two and there has been little development in the shape etc.
What I find puzzling is this statement from one of the websites: "Chrysler stopped importing Neons into the United Kingdom in 2004" http://www.allpar.com/neon/euroneon.html
Yet the Neon is shown on the Chrysler website.
DAS
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MoPar Man wrote:

For what it's worth, there have been a handful of 300M owners in Russia and the Middle East fairly regularly posting on the 300M ezBoard (also have seen a few Intrepid owners on the DI.net forums). Don't know what the numbers are as far as exports to those countries, and it could very well be well-connected people who shipped them in from the U.S. or elsewhere (in fact I know that to be true for one or two of those people). Bill Putney (to reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my address with "x")
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In the Netherlands the 300M, 3.5i V6 LE costs a bit over E 56,000.- This is roughly $ 68,000.- and the price is with all taxes included. Joe Average would have to save every penny to be able to buy the car in 3 to 4 years (after taxes). Most Joe Averages though drive cars with are about E 20,000.- That car will have a 1.4 or even 1.6 (sporty!) engine which will do 0-100 km (0-60mph) in about 13 seconds. The car will have a top speed of 175km (110mph).

There were about 700 300M's sold in the Netherlands. That is on a total population of 16 million people.
Martin
P.S. DAS: the Golf GTi (1.8 with compressor) is faster then my Stratus 2.5V6. My car is faster on the first 40 meters but after that... :/
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

There IS no equivalent to a Chrysler Hemi... :-)
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are
any
You sound like you're talking about a 60's car. From what I've read the 300 is an excellent handling car. And if it's not the equivalent to Mercedes why not? It has an awful lot in common with them. By the way we actually have winding roads in N. America, go figure. I'd still like to know what engines you consider equivalent to the Hemi.
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"Excellent handling" is also relative. Maybe not excellent in the eyes of the reviewer compared to other European (maybe some Japanese?) cars. I'll cut and paste the article in reply to another poster.
I have driven 'cross-country' in parts of the US and noticed some gentle curves in the 4-lane highway... :-) I admit that was in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, i.e. densely populated areas where there were no remote regions with miles and miles of narrow roads occasioned by little traffic. And I don't think I'd like to test performance in Valley Forge...
Why should a Chrysler be equivalent to a Merc? DC hasn't owned Chrysler for long and, anyway, there would, I am sure, be much opposition to wholesale changes done very quickly. Although I don't think these NGs are an accurate reflection of the general populace it is still instructive to observe the comments made about Chrysler changes and about Merc. It seems to me that there is a lot of criticism about many of the changes introduced by the current management. There are issues of how people (Americans in particular) perceive Chrysler as was or is, and what DC is doing to it. I feel for some in this NG their opinions are influenced by 'nationalism', i.e. this great American company has been taken over by those blasted foreigners, German no less.
As regards the value of the 'Hemi', I am not an expert but I would have thought that the discussion about that earlier in this thread was quite informative. There was something in a similar vein in the BMW NG recently. I don't think many really care what the engine is called or what its shape is, so long as it accelerates well, especially from 50 - 70 mph, makes an attractive sound (or is quiet, personal taste) and the gearbox (manual or auto) performs satisfactorily. Oh, and fuel consumption is an issue for many Europeans (hence popularity of diesel).
DAS
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