The discussion over in the general forum inspired me to start a thread here. Let’s start by talking about a car that I brought up, the new 300.
The 300 definately created a stir. All of a sudden boring and bloated FWD big three cars were tossed out of the way by this smart looking retro RWD car. But what works and what doesn’t in the design?
I like what they did, but I don’t know what came first… Hip-hop or Crysler.
The design of this car went to get new rims to pimp out his own ride the moment he got it. I don’t know how much this means.
I think this is one of those cars that will appeal strongly to people, but the percentage of these people who will really buy it is probably not as high as imagine.
Perhaps just ask yourself whether you like it, and will you buy it if you got the money? Or would you have gone for something else.
I definitely would have gone for something else even though I don’t have any complain about the design.
If I was in the market for a FULL size sedan and wanted to spend below 30g’s, I don’t think there is anything else I would consider.
I think the design is great, but the styling looks a bit rushed. In other words they got all the right things in all the right places, powertrain, proportion, heights; but it lacks a certain refinement. The car it replaces had a lot of well done surface development, but the proportions and spec’s where off - good styling, bad design on that one.
Proportions and overal theme are spot on, I think the aproach someone mentioned, taking a familiar but out of reach euro design and doing a target on it to bring it to the Masses in a very American way is a solid aproach. Virgil Exner attempted to do this in the early 50’s at Chrysler with a series of concepts he comisioned from Italian design house Gia.Note the odd surface above the fron wheel arch where it intersects the hood. The front air dam looks a bit crude and blunt, rub strip below the headlight could use refinement. Chiseled rear is refined from Cadilac CTS.
While this guy, the Concord which died allong with the LHS and last gen 300 when the new one came out, had beautiful surfacing, but forgetable, unlovable design complete with oldster proportion, a weazer of a powerplant, and front wheel drive. The new design is so good it replaced 3 products.
In the meantime, the new 300, which steals a lot of cues from super luxery “British” cars, at least takes its inspiration from some of the mose coveted cars out there that don’t compete at all with the 300, while cars like the Ford 500 take it from their supposed competitiors. Man the last RR resolved that same fender flare so nice though eh?
…just my take
This is one of those Ghia designed Chrysler concepts, freaking beautifull, no?
I love those Ghia designs.
On the 300 though…I never noticed that weird fender-fender flare surface. I’ll have to look closer at the next one I see on the road.
Personally, I agree, the 300 looks rushed. The front is almost there. The headlights have some nice detailing in shape. The grill-to-hood intersection is nice. It really emphasizes the strength of that upright grill. The short overhang and big wide fenders just add to that overall impression of strength and energy.
The parts of the 300 that I think are week is the rear. Whereas the front looks like nothing else out there, since most companies are trying to give a sloped aero-look, the rear looks like it is cut and pasted from a CTS or something else.
Another good design is the interior. I love the fonts and colors of the gauges…it captures that same retro era as the exterior. It is well layed out and seems to have decent quality, something Chrysler lacked about 5-10 years ago.
That’s something the lacked 1 year ago!
Yeah, it’s like they got to the back and where like, that’s good enough.
I think it’s safe to say most cars look a great deal better with larger-than-stock rims, and this car is no different.
I saw it on the road before hearing about it through the design-vine. I thought it looked liked something out of an old ganster movie. And that’s “gangster” not “gangsta”. Al Capone, Dick Tracy, tommy guns, that sort of thing…
I have yet to check one out up close, but I see them on the road constantly here in South Florida. I think it’s a pretty even spread of performance packages as well. The fact that you can pick one of these up from $26,000 to $40,000 says a lot about Chrysler’s determination to get this car out on the road.
It seems to appeal to a pretty broad range of drivers…but I did think the comment was funny that if young designers like it, it’s probably doomed. The past has proven that to be correct more often than not…
Only one mod I’d like to see really: suicide doors…those HUGE slab side are just begging for 'em…
it’s like “dad got a serious job this time” car but “not sure if he should buy a mercedes”.
It definitely needs suicide doors…or at least those freestyle things on the RX-8 (which, in my opinion, are a wonderful innovation - the structural B-pillar is actually incorporated into the two halves of the door and somehow strengthens itself when the doors are closed).
As to the car itself: I don’t like the current trend towards bloating the body of the car way out of proportion. Granted, a full-size sedan has to be a certain size, but the 300 (and several others…Hummer H2 and buick rendezvous come to mind) has too much additional plastic glommed all over it.
I don’t mean that it has ornamentation, like in the cadillacs from the 1950’s (Borax, the stylists called it at the time, thanks to soap ads where it was advertised as “with BORAX!”). I fell it’s actually quite a clean design. However, it’s simply - for lack of a better term - too big. Take a look at a Lotus Elise, for example - the body looks as though it’s been wrapped around the frame. The car itself is smaller without decreasing the (limited) interior space. The 300 is loaded with wasted space.
I do like some of the cues, though. The low windows, high beltline and square front - and powerful engine note, if you’ve heard the 300C at high revs - place it squarely in the gangster (NATE’s definition) era. The image it projects is definitely cooler than the car itself, once you get to know it. Perhaps that’s a good thing on chrysler’s part.
Just in time for the season:
Arclight: I like those smaller cars too, but realistically for most Usonians, the SUV is the status symbol that people are aspiring to. Or, if Yo’s comments in the general forum are right, it is the declining status symbol. The 300 may help to move people back to cars, and I think that is a good start. On a side note check this out:
Check out the fender on the Mondeo mk III. It has that same weird intersecting surface…maybe this is the next gen of Art Center grads new trend?
ok audi time for payback.
I think that the problem with this car (and, really, most of Chrysler’s current cars) is that it isn’t likely to still be relevant in a couple of years. Its like with the PT Cruiser. At first, it was a smash and got lots of people into dealerships even if it was just to look at the thing. But now it doesn’t sell too well and its a difficult design to evolve and refresh. I guess if you were to evolve it you would have to work back through the eras between its influences and contemporary vehicles. Anyway, I think the 300 is pretty slick, as is the Magnum, although it is a little sloppier in the front than the 300. But as slick as these cars are, I don’t think its enough to keep people interested.
What I’m trying to say, I think, is that the fashion aspect of these vehicles is pushed too much. The lifecycle of cars isn’t well suited to keep up with the dictates of fashion. The 300 will play out within a year and be old hat. The 500, while bland, will last longer because it doesn’t try to make a fashion statement and will be as desirable in 3 years as it is today (whatever that’s worth).
[quote="coppi cat"The 500, while bland, will last longer because it doesn’t try to make a fashion statement and will be as desirable in 3 years as it is today (whatever that’s worth).[/quote]
Couldn’t agree more, the 500 will be as worthless threee years from now as it is today.
The 300 on the other hand will be dated at a moment in time, possibly in a good way if the brand is managed effectively. It is quite possible that people will talk about the 300 like previous generations talk about the 57 chevy. But if a product doesn’t take a risk, there is no way for it to make that connection.
If I where calling the shots, I would redesign the 300 in 1-2 years to keep this design limited and special, but they won’t step away from the now popular formula, beating it into the ground and making it un-cool like the PT cruiser. That thing should have had a major redesign after 2 years at the distrabution level that product was delivered at. It’s like if you see something you like at Target, and go back a month later, it’s gone and they’ll never get it again, because of the broad distrabution. Design Within Reach on the other hand changes product very seldomly because it has a focused distrabution stragey. So much of good design is context.
BTW, that new Euro Mondeo is a beautiful car… to bad there is not an origional line on it though. I hope whoever designed it used it as a portfolio piece to get into Audi, cause it sure looks like he wishes he works there!
Just my take
I can´t help it, but what the whole 300C thing reminds me most of is a Ford:
The 70ies Ford Taunus / Cortina TC as it was built and sold in Europe and South America:
Mind you this one was almost one fith smaller put the proportions and the sculpture show some common genes. Don´t they?
In Germany this one is called the “Knudsen Taunus” because of it´s nose…
It was much liked by the nuveau riché of the times because it provided unparalleled tin for the buck. It even sported the cheapest 6 Cylinder available here.
The first year it sold like hot cakes but after short time it was much too obvious where Ford had cut corners to match the price so that it´s beauty was considered as only superficial. Now it was seen as “kitschy” , unserious and unappropriate for a business man. As a result these barges were snapped up rather cheaply by southern european immigrants. This killed it´s cachet alltogether.
I don´t hope the 300c goes down the drain the same way, but I see a risk there.
If it´s hot with the bling bling fraction right now it might be dead tomorrow,
From a designers perspective I see too many details that look really old instead of retro
Finally, have a look at the rear end (the lights were tinted red originally)
PT Cruiser is a totally different vehicle than the 300. The PT was making a Euro style small minivan (à la Renault Scénic) but for a niche market. Chrysler knew that a Neon minivan would be ridiculed and tossed off the Euro mainland. A retro, american style little van though…that may have a market. Also, Chrysler could test the US market’s desire for a small van with the same vehicle. All of this on top of the tried and true Neon platform, so lower production costs.
300 is clearly not for the export market at all. The 300 is an attempt to breath some life into the otherwise dull domestic sedan market. No wonder people have been buying SUVs, just look at the dull and poorly built sedans coming out of the Big 3. Taurus, Impala, Monte Carlo, Lumina, Malibu, Concorde, Intrepid. Some of those names may evoke cool cars of yesteryear, but their modern versions are (mho) uninspired.
Chrysler has spotted an opportunity gap. All the makes have good SUVs and pickups…that market it saturated. Sedan market though…hmmm, that’s wide open for the domestics.
Yo and everyone is right though in that Chrysler needs to manage this new brand delicately. They can not expect to keep shifting this car for the next 10 years (read, like the Neon). They need to stay one step ahead of everyone else by innovating and keeping their new brand fresh.
The intentions are clearly different for the PT and 300, but the approach is very similar. The biggest difference is that the PT was something of a new genre for American cars, but it was the styling that made it worth talking about. Its mostly the same with the 300. Granted, if you get one with a Hemi, you’ll have a little more to talk about, but most discussion of the car will focus on how it looks.
Also, I don’t think that people in the U.S. are buying SUV’s because the domestics can’t make a good sedan. After all, Europe and Japan make perfectly good sedans and sell them here. Also, most domestic SUV’s are pretty comparable to American cars in terms of looks and quality. You are right, though, to criticise the mid-level cars from the Big 3, particularly those from GM.
So yes, there is an opportunity for Chrysler to gain some mindshare when it comes to sedans. The 300, because of its design and buzz, will likely be considered by people shopping for anything from the 500/Accord/Camry to the CTS/LS (Lincoln, not Lexus)/Maxima. I just don’t think it will still be considered more than 2 years from now by many people unless, as Yo suggested, Chrysler has refreshes in the works to keep things sufficiently fresh.
Motor Trend just picked the 300 as their Car of the Year. I don’t know about that. For me, the 300 is slightly intriguing, but unfinished. That huge gaping mouth full of braces just doesn’t do it for me.
It looks much better like this:
I mean, if you are going to go Amero-Bentley, go all the way right?