Rising from Dead-weight

Lets talk the “new” Chrysler. The television is swamped with ads from the Detroit company that was nearly swallowed-up by the recession. Chrysler was seen by all as the runt of the “Big-3” in America. Even rumors of a mass purchase by GM was heard when both Chrysler and GM were circling the drain, toward bankruptcy.

Chrysler Group LLC is the parent owner of the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram nameplates. Now partially owned by Italian automotive company, Fiat, after restructuring efforts in 2009.

For 2012, Chrysler unleashed its new “line-up” across all brands. Hearing reviews from previous models and sub-bottom sales figures showed a overhaul was not only necessary but vital for its survival in the industry.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee could be seen as the “halo” vehicle for Chrysler. The 2012 model is not only gorgeous, but vastly improved. Based on the Mercedes-Benz M-class platform, the Grand Cherokee has a softer ride, with larger amounts of space throughout the vehicle. Thrown into the mix are sophisticated terrain management system for journeys both on and off-road. This type of system has been seen on the likes of Range Rovers and Audis in the past. It was only time till Jeep discovered this technology, since many still stake-claim of Jeep being the first true Sport Utility Vehicle, me being one of them. Along with the Grand Cherokee, The off-road Wrangler was updated with higher-quality materials, and more luxury features so even die-hard can be pampered. The Patriot and Compass were all included in the overhaul, further separating the similarly priced vehicles. The Patriot was aimed at the off-road enthusiast, and the Compass more for the urbanist, who enjoys the outdoors from time to time.

Let’s talk Chrysler. Now made-up of only three vehicles, the 200, 300, and Town and Country (minivan). This brand went on a serious diet, ditching the Pacifica, Aspen, Sebring, and Crossfire for 2012. The Town and Country is a namesake families tend of know as the luxurious people-hauler. The 200 is the new Sebring. The platypus-styling and poor-interior materials left much to be desired from the previous Sebring. Enter the 200. Same body structure, but with a redesign and remodel, the 200 tries to be near entry-level luxury and manages to do so. The 300 was introduced in 2004, where is was lauded as the resurrection of Chrysler. Becoming long in the tooth, the 300 was redesigned for 2012 with a dashing new exterior, and true uber-luxury features usually only found on brands with price-points well over $60k.

Dodge was recently split into two different brands. Dodge, still the brand for affordable performance cars, and Ram created to tailor more toward the trucks. Dodge, much like Chrysler, lost a lot of dead weight for 2012. Tailored to be a performance brand, vehicles like the Avenger, Caravan, Challenger, Charger, Durango, and Journey remained core with complete overhauls in interior materials and exterior styling.

The new Chrysler seems organized. Still some model overlaps like the Avenger and 200, Grand Cherokee and Durango, and both Caravan and T&C but overall, each has it’s own personality. The diet was necessary for this company. Overall, the brands seem more interesting with technology and luxurious that set them apart from the others, especially at price-point. Chrysler still has many hurtles to overcome but the progress is ultimately positive. Imported from Detroit may really stick.


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