Chrysler Cancels the Imperial

By Brendan Moore

07.18.2007

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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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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2 Comments

  1. I didn’t like the Imperial, I LOVED the Imperial. It’s a shame we won’t be seeing it now because it is the kind of car the American comapnies should be making. I think they should have made it anyway and just paid the gas-guzzler tax.

  2. I agree with Brendan – this automotive Frankenstein probably would not have succeeded even without the likely new CAFE requirements and gas at $3+ per gallon. It looks like a tank, and along with the Aspen (revealed around the same time), signaled the beginning of the end of Chrysler Design’s hot streak. Anything since this car has been a swing and a miss.

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