Chrysler Gets Into the Limousine Game
- March 27, 2006
- Chrysler, New Model Introductions
- Posted by George Peterson
- Comments Off on Chrysler Gets Into the Limousine Game
2006 New York Auto Show Introduction for the Next Big Thing in Limousines
Chrysler has quite logically chosen this spring’s New York auto show for the introduction of a new 300 derivative, given that city’s heavy use of taxi cabs and limousines. Given the 300’s success with the bling set, a variant for the chauffer-driven of the world makes sense.
Having ridden in a Chrysler 300C executive car, the 300 is certainly challenged when it comes to rear seat room. The 300 Limo is a welcome addition to the line for livery companies wanting more comfortable and commodious transportation for their upscale, well-heeled clientele.
Being assembled by specialty vehicle builder Accubuilt, the 300 for the livery/limousine market arrives in fall 2006. Accubuilt has been around for decades, building specialty vehicles from a Cadillac DeVille Executive Sedans to unique versions of Ford SuperDuty pickup trucks and hearses. The long-wheelbase 300 will be available to retail buyers, but the special-order vehicle is likely to find only a low volume of retail takers. Those who do opt for the extra-long variant get six more inches between the wheels, with the extra room added in the rear passenger area. Production of the long 300 could come home to Chrysler down the road, depending on the model’s success and Chrysler’s production capacity and needs.
The Chrysler Group has been aggressive with its pricing for most models introduced in the past couple of years, the specialty nature of this will likely bring with it a relatively high sticker. Pricing will be announced in fall, nearer to the sales launch.
Engines and Options
Given that the longer vehicle will be heavier, the 250HP 3.5L V6 and 325HP 5.7L HEMI V8 will be offered, but not the smaller 2.7L V6. Options enabling a chauffer-driven comfort zone for rear passengers will include lighted rear writing tables, two 12-volt power outlets, footrests, and lighted vanity mirrors and directional reading lights for rear passengers. The Chrysler 300 is offered in both sedan and wagon forms outside of North America, and both variants can be ordered in the longer version.
Over time, manufacturers have effectively abandoned the livery market. Though cabs now come in the form of SUVs, minivans, and front-drive Impalas, only Ford Motor Company still makes rear-drive, large sedan taxis and limousines. Chrysler sees an opportunity here for their flagship sedan, and the result is pictured above. Having the car built by a supplier likely helped Chrysler bring this vehicle about quickly, as well as reducing the investment in development and tooling the company needed to make. The outsource strategy also indicates a limited volume, though Chrysler Group routinely avoids publicly commenting on sales or production volume expectations and this vehicle is no different.
The long 300 will test the water against Ford’s aging livery products, the Ford Crown Victoria and Lincoln Town Car. The Ford products have been around for decades and have proven their long-term reliability, while the long 300 will be a product on a newer platform with less time under its belt to prove it can hold up to the demands of the livery circuit.