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Sunday, January 08, 2006


Detroit Auto Show Day 1 - Chrysler Group

As always, Chrysler Group has the most interesting press conferences. At one point, Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) wandered across the stage, desperate for something. After things returned to normal, we got to see, once again, why Chrysler is the healthiest of the “domestic” manufacturers and why Eva was, “desperate.” As I said earlier, I am not a big fan of concept cars that never see production because they are, A.) over designed and B.) can’t be manufactured because the design goes too far and C.) have a powertrain that can’t, realistically, go into mass production (e.g. Hydrogen cars, pure electrics, flywheel cars, etc.)

I have no doubt that both the concepts shown by Chrysler Groupwill be in production soon because they have a past history and, more importantly, a current Chrysler Group platform accommodate their production (the 300).

The Dodge Challenger concept continues Chrysler Groups’s back to the future strategy. Shown in a lovely burnt orange, it brings back memories of cruising Woodward Avenue (the main drag strip for those who spent their wayward youth in Detroit). Of course, it has a 425 hp hemi with 0-60 times in about 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 174 mph. Well…so much for the energy crisis. If we’re gonna go, we might as well go in style, right?

Back in the day you knew you’d arrived when the hood of your car came up to your armpit. Well, we’re back in the day now. The Chrysler Imperial concept is all hood…and then some. Like its predecessors in the new Chrysler/Dodge sedan lineage, one is reminded of a Rolls Royce. Or as the press release says,

Like the great Imperials of Chrysler’s storied past, the 2006 Imperial concept vehicle is designed as Chrysler’s flagship, a luxury sedan that is elegant, provocative, aspirational, yet attainable.

For inspiration, the designers looked not only to the classic Imperials of the 1930s and 1950s but also to Chrysler’s long tradition of creative concept cars, from the earlier Chrysler d’Elegance and Falcon to the more recent Chrysler Chronos and Firepower. This rich heritage is expressed in the crisp line that parallels the sill, then arches up over the rear wheel and flows to the rear of the car, signaling that this is a powerful rear-drive automobile.

One also realizes…Chrysler has once again taken the lead in being distinct and continues to extend that philosophy with this latest powerful rear wheel drive saloon. One interesting feature, the doors hinge at the A (front) and C (last) pillar so the doors open similar to French Doors (once known in the auto industry as, “suicide doors”). Oh yes, it’s got a 340 hp hemi. Sensing a theme here?

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