Chrysler Aspen:

Stuck to the Dealer's Floor – Inventory Numbers Tell the Story

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Which cars and trucks are planted to the dealer’s floor? In other words, which vehicles take the longest to sell? Who cars? Why does it matter, anyway?
Well, while it may not seem that important to you, it’s critically important to the industry s a whole… from the manufacturese, component suppliers, dealers and quite a few financial institutions. First, if you know the time it takes to sell a vehicle, you know how much it is dragging on the dealer’s floorplanning costs. Floorplanning is the term for the amount it costs the dealer to finance the a vehicle in inventory waiting to be sold. If a vehicle has been hanging around for weeks, he’ll be more likely to deal aggressively to get rid of it. Also, vehicles that have high days supply may be less popular. From that perspective, they may be the ones you want to stay away from.


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Ten Worst Cars for 2006 – Truth About Cars

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OK, on this one VehicleVoice is just the messenger. The Truth About Cars website has taken it on itself to identify the ten worst cars and trucks sold in the USA in 2006. Not really sure what their credentials are, but here is their press release… When we feel like commenting, see our notes following the press release writeup.
The Truth About Cars Website Names Its Ten Worst Automobiles for 2006
November 8, 2006 – PROVIDENCE, R.I.: The Truth About Cars website (TTAC) has revealed the ten winners of its first annual “Ten Worst Automobiles Today” awards. According to the site’s readers, the very worst vehicles sold in America today are… GM’s minivans.
For voting purposes, TTAC lumped all four of GM’s virtually identical people movers together: the Chevrolet Uplander, Saturn Relay, Buick Terraza and Pontiac SV6.
In his description of the “winner,” reviewer William C. Montgomery slated GM’s minivans for their “antique engineering, woeful looks, cancerous effect on not one but four GM brands and their abject inability to hold a candle to their foreign-owned competition.” In terms of dreadful driving dynamics, contemptible aesthetics and torturous ergonomics, no other vehicles sold in America can compete with these ridiculously-named ‘Crossover Sport Vans.'”
The automotive website’s readers voted the new Jeep Compass America’s second worst vehicle: a lackluster vehicle that betrays its storied brand’s heritage. According to TTAC’s description, it’s an “ugly, gangly, underpowered, mud-aversive half-breed” that “staggers into the light, turning all who see it– or heaven forbid buy it– into grotesque, bobble-headed morons.” The Compass “stomps all over Jeep’s reputation as America’s purveyor of authentic off-road vehicles.”
The rest of TTAC’s Ten Worst are the Jeep Compass (2), Buick Rendezvous (3), Chrysler Aspen (4), Hummer H2 (5), Chevrolet Monte Carlo (6), Subaru B9 Tribeca (7), Saab 9-7x (8), Lincoln Mark LT (9) and Chevrolet Aveo (10). Capsule reviews are below.
To create the list, The Truth About Cars asked its 40k daily readers to nominate the worst vehicles for sale in the United States during the 2006 calendar year. A selection committee comprised of ten TTAC writers selected 20 finalists from the readers’ nominations. Finalists were chosen for their crimes against aesthetics, engineering, ergonomics, driving dynamics and/or brand authenticity. The final ten “winners” were chosen by readers via an electronic poll.
Site publisher Robert Farago said his team created The Ten Worst awards as an antidote to the annual “love ins” provided by the mainstream automotive media. “The profusion of ‘best of’ automotive awards reflects the fact that the manufacturer-sponsored magazines and websites can’t tell it like it is,” Farago said. “TTAC is the home of take-no-prisoners automotive journalism. Our Ten Worst list says we’re not afraid to tell the truth about cars.”


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First Drive: Chrysler Aspen

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VehicleVoice correspondent and AutoPacific staff were among those the Chrysler Group invited to Palm Springs, California, to experience first-hand their first SUV, the Aspen, and their latest attack on the mid-size sedan market, the all-new Sebring. We covered the reveal of the Aspen at the 2006 North American International Auto Show and the Sebring in June at the Chrysler Proving Grounds, and now we’re able to share our first driving impressions. In this space, we tackle the Aspen.

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Why Add an SUV?
Chrysler noted that of the buyers that leave the Chrysler brand, 25 percent go on to buy SUVs. Of that 25 percent, 75 percent leave the company altogether, while about 25 percent go to Dodge or Jeep. Two years ago, the Chrysler Group decided to reskin a Durango and see if they can’t keep some of those buyers.
The Aspen gives Chrysler loyalists needing an SUV a reason to stay, though any new buyers it brings will be welcomed. As far as a theme, the 300 of SUVs is clearly the target. Differences between Durango and Aspen are all things customers can touch; suspension tuning is slightly different, but components, brakes, and steering components and ratios are all identical to Durango. Sheetmetal differences include the front clip (fenders, grille, fascia, lamps, and hood outer), rear door, rear aperture quarter, tailamps, and rear fascia. These changes give you an SUV with more pizzaz and chrome, and the Aspen looks best in strong colors that allow the chrome to pop. Black and blue were very nice; in silver, the chrome gets lost along with its personality.
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Chrysler Aspen Arrives in a Blizzard

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Though the all-new SUV was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the blizzard was not provided by Mother Nature but brought in by the clowns. In a flurry of paper snow inspired by his Snowshow production , the internationally acclaimed clown show headed by Slava Polunin assisted Frank Klegan as he brought out the Chrysler Aspen. VehicleVoice and AutoPacific correspondents were part of the crowd that was covered nearly head to toe by the blast of paper snow, and it was fun!

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This event confirmed that the rumors are true. Chrysler’s first full-size SUV, the Aspen, goes on sale in fall 2006, and Chrysler promises it is the 300 of SUVs. The Aspen is derived from the Dodge Durango, though offers a significantly changed look with much more chrome and style than the Dodge personality allows. Aspen will likely compete with Premium Luxury SUVs, a segment that includes large SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Infiniti QX56, two Land Rovers, and the Lexus LX, expect Chrysler may be able to undercut their base price and offer a value proposition along the lines of the 300 and other recent introductions.
Our take on the styling of the Chrysler Aspen is that Durango got hit with a boring stick. An SUV aspiring to luxury tastes can still be distinctive (Escalade, Navigator, QX56, etc) and do not have to be dulled down to appeal to more upscale pocketbooks. At least an SUV is a more appropriate vehicle type to use the Aspen name with than the Dodge Aspen of old. Remember the Dodge Aspen and Plymouth Volare? Wonder how many are still on the road?
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