Chrysler Cancels the Imperial
By Brendan Moore
In what promises to be the first of many similar public cancellations by the auto companies, Chrysler has axed production of the Imperial luxury sedan due to the impending increases in fuel economy requirements.
The Chrysler Imperial sedan would have been based on the Chrysler 300 platform, but would have been longer, much heavier, and taller. And, of course, it would have needed a more powerful means of motivation. All of that together would have probably returned fuel economy in the teens at best, and the proposed fuel economy requirements call for a 35 mpg average by 2020 across every auto manufacturer’s product line. Recent increases in the retail price of gasoline did not help the business case for the Imperial, either.
The Imperial concept was first shown at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and garnered strong reactions, both pro and con. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you I was in the camp that didn’t like the Imperial. I still don’t like it – I think it looks fat and bulbous. It’s always reminded me of an overweight executive in an expensive suit. Personally, I think this falls under the law of unintended positive consequences for Chrysler because I believe the Imperial would have royally flopped.
Canadian Auto Workers President Buzz Hargrove stated that initial production plans for the Imperial had called for a production run of 50,000 units. Hargrove said that Chrysler had committed to replacing the lost Imperial production with the transfer of 30,000 units from the Magna International plant in Austria, which currently is producing the Chrysler 300.
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