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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-26-2005, 06:31 PM
 
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Default Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe



RICK KRANZ | Automotive News
Posted Date: 9/26/05
FRANKFURT -- Chrysler group executives are weighing the future of the slow-selling Chrysler Crossfire.

At issue is whether the two-passenger sports car will be redesigned and assembled in North America or merely fade into the sunset when its assembly contract with Wilhelm Karmann GmbH expires.

The rear-drive Crossfire shares Mercedes-Benz components and is assembled by Karmann in Osnabruck, Germany. Production began in 2003.

Without giving specifics, Hendrik Loetter, key account manager of Karmann U.S.A., said the contract to build the Crossfire was for approximately five years.

The Crossfire "has done an awful lot for the brand. It has helped redefine our design and engineering capabilities," said Joe Eberhardt, executive vice president of global sales and marketing. "I think as an industry and as a company, we have to get away from the fact that every new vehicle automatically has to have a replacement."

Asked if the Chrysler Firepower roadster concept, which was shown at this year's Detroit auto show, is the likely Crossfire successor, Eberhardt said "the two are not related."

When the Crossfire debuted in 2003, the intent was to create a halo vehicle for the Chrysler brand. The automaker set an annual U.S. sales target of 20,000 units. It sold 14,969 units in 2004.

Chrysler has sold 10,276 units through August, 166 units up from the year-ago period.

The special employee pricing program for everyone boosted July and August sales. In July, Chrysler sold 1,364 Crossfires, compared with 1,269 in July 2004. In August 1,262 units were sold, up from 1,205 for the year-ago month.

"If we continue at the current pace that we saw last month (August), I would be happy," said Eberhardt, who was interviewed on Sept. 13 at the Frankfurt auto show.

But Eberhardt added: the "Crossfire is certainly a challenge for us. It is no secret."

The 2006 Crossfire's sticker price ranges from $30,070 for the base coupe to $50,395 for the SRT-6 convertible. Prices include shipping.

"Pricing is an issue if you look at what else is out there in the market today in that segment," Eberhardt said.

Chrysler is talking to auto dealers to determine how sales can be increased.
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Old 09-26-2005, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


This has always been a "NITCHE" car and the "NITCHE" car has always been harder to sell than any other type of vehicle. Even the Corvette/Viper has a hard time being sold. Why are they sweating now? Too early to look into numbers on these cars. And the E.P. pricing is helping all Big 3 brands sell. But in reality they're hurting the Auto industry, especially used car sales. It's all about perception any way. The deals that were going on before were just as good with all the incentives that were out there. They should have left the incentives alone and still lowered the price. That would have been a deal. They also hurt us as salesmen. there isn't any money to be made anymore selling the American Car Brands.


One bad ride
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Old 09-26-2005, 08:04 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmackinjersey
This has always been a "NITCHE" car and the "NITCHE" car has always been harder to sell than any other type of vehicle. Even the Corvette/Viper has a hard time being sold. Why are they sweating now? Too early to look into numbers on these cars. And the E.P. pricing is helping all Big 3 brands sell. But in reality they're hurting the Auto industry, especially used car sales. It's all about perception any way. The deals that were going on before were just as good with all the incentives that were out there. They should have left the incentives alone and still lowered the price. That would have been a deal. They also hurt us as salesmen. there isn't any money to be made anymore selling the American Car Brands.
The Corvette has never had a problem selling; nor the Viper, which is a highly limited production car and usually has a wait list attached to it. They had high hopes for the Crossfire - yet instead due to a misjudged price point and poor marketing - ended up with a majority of Crossfire's sitting on the lots for an average of almost a year, each. Chrysler had a great opportunity with the Crossfire, yet essentially blew it. They've been able to move them thanks to the latest incentives and deals but I wouldn't be surprised if the Crossfire doesn't make it to '07.


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Old 09-26-2005, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


Quote:
Originally Posted by MoparAlleyCat
The Corvette has never had a problem selling; nor the Viper, which is a highly limited production car and usually has a wait list attached to it. They had high hopes for the Crossfire - yet instead due to a misjudged price point and poor marketing - ended up with a majority of Crossfire's sitting on the lots for an average of almost a year, each. Chrysler had a great opportunity with the Crossfire, yet essentially blew it. They've been able to move them thanks to the latest incentives and deals but I wouldn't be surprised if the Crossfire doesn't make it to '07.
The Corvette sold very poorly in it's first few years of existence.
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Old 09-26-2005, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


Most people still have no IDEA what a Crossfire REALLY is! And where it is made? Or what it's made with! BAD marketing!
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


I agree on the bad marketing. I have an uncle that is also a car guy and drives a toyota mr2 turbo that he is constantly tinkering on.
When I pulled up in his driveway with my crossfire he was not sure what it was or what it was about.
After some explaining we took it for a ride and he was impressed with it. He also commented on how well it stuck to the road and had a blast beating on it.
Bottom line, he fell in love with it but still is not quite sure what it is...
I don't think i have seen a crossfire commercial on tv but have seen tons on that HHR GM thing...
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:35 PM
 
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


I also have to agree, bad marketing, and even worse, a lack of training for the sales staff. The salesman had no idea what he was selling. This is also the only car I have owned, that was built by Karmann, but has no nameplate indicating Karmann built it. My three VW Corrado's had the plate on the center console. It was a simple emblem "Karmann". Chrysler should have played this up as well as the MB drivetrain. If this was supposed to be a "Halo" car, someone dropped the ball big time. It is amazing the car has been out since '03, and no one recognizes it. Is anyone from Chrysler Marketing listening???

I am really tired of people tailgating me trying to read the nameplate, especially the Chrysler mini van crowd - hey, it's not my fault his wife won't let him have one.


2005 Aero Blue Metallic Ltd - Gone but not forgotten
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 09-27-2005, 02:40 AM
 
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


When i read stuff like i always end up wondering if the US is in for a rapid escalation in prices. You guys just don't seem to be paying anywhere near EU prices. My reading of the situation is the imports into the US will reduce as EU sells to itself, short term.

Next five years?
US prices go up as fuel and material go up - US market becomes attractive to world's manufacturing and US manufacturing base will have an even harder time.

Whatever happens - change all round.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 09-27-2005, 12:04 PM
 
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


I think its a great car. Originally when it was released it was hot but the price was so high that many potential buyers walked away.

Its a very polarizing design.

I like it. Hope they evolve to the firepower though.

That would be a nice transition based off the now slower selling viper chassis and a Hemi V8...

I believe that's what people want for 45 grand? Just a guess though...

Sure would be a wild @ss ride...

Just shooting the breeze so no flames please...
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Old 09-27-2005, 02:12 PM
 
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


A couple of my thoughts on the Crossfire:

- If you sell the car as "American" you had better use a V-8 (or perhaps a supercharged V-6) as the power plant. I believe American iron is the key for an "American" car.

- If you are going to play the Daimler angle...then you need to stress that the car is essentially a MB with a Chrysler body. The bogey is/was the SLK 3.2... say it loud and say it clear. The car should be considered "German". I'll bet that purchasers of the Crossfire in Europe have a much better understanding of what the car is/isn't than those in the U.S. market.

- Due to the Euro-Dollar exchange, the car could probably be assembled in the U.S. at a cost that would allow a more "competitive" sticker price...if the objective is to increase volume sales. But...this car rolling out of a factory in Michigan wouldn't be the same in my estimation. There would be no exclusivity factor.

- I can't imagine that DM ever envisioned large volumes of the car would be sold. The car is a "halo" car. As such, it is more an design/engineering exercise than a run of the mill Dodge, Toyota or Acura. The car is targeted at creating excitement for the brand...which it has done. I believe the car has been under marketed, but then with limited advertising resources, I wouldn't concentrate on selling Crossfires, because the market will never be that large.

- DM is in a box regarding the perception of the car being built from left over MB parts. To move forward in subsequent years, the car will have to get an MB SLK upgrade to the existing platform/power plant.

As for me, I like the fact that a Crossfire is not on every street corner. It is a fine car at a great price. It is exclusive from the standpoint that every **** and Jane doesn't own one. I like that fact. I want a car that is different. A car that people look at. Hey, if the car is dropped in the next couple of years, so be it.

There will always be a Crossfire cult that treasures the car and keeps it on the road. Why do I believe this...I own a '88 Cadillac Allante and it has a very similar history to the Crossfire. Hardcore Allante owners tend to be pretty rabid about their cars...just as Crossfire owners will be. The smaller the car community, the more exclusive in my mind. The more fun for the owners and supporters of unique cars.
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Old 09-27-2005, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


Bad marketing is an understatement. Until Employee pricing most of the dealers I went to were unwilling to deal the car. They'd sucker you in with one advertised for 27k but it was a base model. The product knowledge is also very lackluster. Personally I'm happy if they stop making them in a few years, hopefully it will make our already rare cars more valuable. I was shopping for Prowlers before I decided on the Xfire and I wasn't surprised to see their value is in the mid 40's, if you can find one. I'm just happy I finally made a deal on the Xfire and its sitting proudly in my garage. Truly one of the nicest vehicles I've ever owned.
Pat
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Old 09-27-2005, 05:27 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


when the production on our model ends there will be 60k plus crossfires out there, hard to believe it will ever be seen as a rare car.


1. Mazdaspeed 3: Test pipe, cobb springs, turbo xs cai, FMIC, BOV car has earned my eternal hate.
2. 240sx: sr20det, tein coilovers, Godspeed sway bars, tie rods, camber arms, tension rods, rear strut bar. HKS exhaust, Greddy FMIC, BC , 18 inch wheels, Q45 rotors and calipers - SOLD : (
3. The new new- MY2000 Honda S2000. BONE STOCK!! Aside from carbon fiber hood and deck spoiler. But not for long.....
Gone but not forgotten: 2004 Crossfire, SpeedInnovations ECU, tinted tail lights.
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


Quote:
Originally Posted by x'ed
when the production on our model ends there will be 60k plus crossfires out there, hard to believe it will ever be seen as a rare car.
According to Ford, they only produced 55K new 2 seater T-Birds to "assure" their future collectability.
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:17 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


well considering that car is credited in some small way with revolutionizing the auto industry. i doubt you would see the same thing from the crossfire... i really hope you aren't truly comparing these two cars and are just speaking for the sake of it.


1. Mazdaspeed 3: Test pipe, cobb springs, turbo xs cai, FMIC, BOV car has earned my eternal hate.
2. 240sx: sr20det, tein coilovers, Godspeed sway bars, tie rods, camber arms, tension rods, rear strut bar. HKS exhaust, Greddy FMIC, BC , 18 inch wheels, Q45 rotors and calipers - SOLD : (
3. The new new- MY2000 Honda S2000. BONE STOCK!! Aside from carbon fiber hood and deck spoiler. But not for long.....
Gone but not forgotten: 2004 Crossfire, SpeedInnovations ECU, tinted tail lights.
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


Quote:
Originally Posted by x'ed
well considering that car is credited in some small way with revolutionizing the auto industry. i doubt you would see the same thing from the crossfire... i really hope you aren't truly comparing these two cars and are just speaking for the sake of it.
Excuse me? Just exactly where did you hear that the "NEW T-Bird" is credited with revolutionizing the auto industry in any way? To answer your question, I was simply comparing the #s. 60K is considered a relatively low production.

Last edited by +fireamx; 09-27-2005 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 09-27-2005, 07:02 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


i apologize, i misread. i thought you said, ford built only a limited number of 1955 t-birds to make them collectors items.


1. Mazdaspeed 3: Test pipe, cobb springs, turbo xs cai, FMIC, BOV car has earned my eternal hate.
2. 240sx: sr20det, tein coilovers, Godspeed sway bars, tie rods, camber arms, tension rods, rear strut bar. HKS exhaust, Greddy FMIC, BC , 18 inch wheels, Q45 rotors and calipers - SOLD : (
3. The new new- MY2000 Honda S2000. BONE STOCK!! Aside from carbon fiber hood and deck spoiler. But not for long.....
Gone but not forgotten: 2004 Crossfire, SpeedInnovations ECU, tinted tail lights.
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Old 09-27-2005, 07:47 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


I know that marketing has to be the issue. People ask me what I am driving all the time and they don't know anything about it. I told one guy it was an MB SLK in a Chrysler designed body made in Germany, he didn't believer me I had to pop the hood. When german was everywhere including MB logos he became a believer.

I am also glad I don't see them like a Mustang they are everywhere!

I think in 2 years I saw one add in a magazine. It did not emphasize the MB factor, (Shame on Chrysler)

Also if they built it in the USA it would not have the SLK drive train, this is why it was built in Germany it would not make much since to import German parts to the USA and then assembled by people not used to these parts and assemblies. So if you want a USA XFire it might look similar but it probably would be a different drive train.

I think if they want to stir up some sales ADVERTISE best way to keep the price up is demand high supply low. This will also help with the overall value of the used XFire.

Come on Chrysler spend some money and advertise, it will help you and us!
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


I think WOODLANDS & NAPASANAOMA made some very good points. Personally I think the XF is stuck between a rock & a hard place simply because it never really found its true market niche. Let's face facts. Traditional Mercedes buyers aren't going to be the least bit interested in an American designed Benz, especially with "yesterdays news" mechanicals. Mopar fans,& (employees) by in large really don't know what to make of the thing. And Hard Core sports car enthusiasts usually demand a little more "track proven history" behind their new purchases. As stated before, it simply hasn't been marketed very well.
In today's "Retro Crazed" market place, I don't see why it couldn't be promoted as a (Sports/Muscle Car). Even though there are probably a dozen or so other American cars faster in the 1/4 mile than a non-supercharged XF, it still runs 14.7, and that's nothing to sneeze at, and at 13.3 sec. for a supercharged version, it's solidly into the current muscle car arena. Plus the car goes thru a slalom as fast as a Ford GT or a Vette, (even some Porsches). So essentially it has all the bases covered.
We all know what a bargain the car is, unfortunately, the buying public doesn't. Usually all it takes is one test drive to win someone over. Maybe that's what D/C needs to do, (Pay people to come in for a test drive).

Last edited by +fireamx; 09-28-2005 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 09-28-2005, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


New marketing, upgrade to the new 3.5 V6, follow MB slk upgrade and let people know it's a quality car that performs well. I love the car. It's the most all around fun sports cars I've driven. And it draws serious attention from any one who see's it. just my 2C.


SOLD One 2004 Black Crossfire 6 Speed, " still looking for 30 more/HP somewhere!! "
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Old 09-28-2005, 08:34 PM
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Default Re: Caught in the Crossfire: Chrysler mulls future of slow-selling sports coupe


3.5 v6 would be the best selling point, imho, considering it does 5.3 in the slk which is much heavier. you would be looking at high 13's (probably 13.9) thus making it directly competitive with the z.


1. Mazdaspeed 3: Test pipe, cobb springs, turbo xs cai, FMIC, BOV car has earned my eternal hate.
2. 240sx: sr20det, tein coilovers, Godspeed sway bars, tie rods, camber arms, tension rods, rear strut bar. HKS exhaust, Greddy FMIC, BC , 18 inch wheels, Q45 rotors and calipers - SOLD : (
3. The new new- MY2000 Honda S2000. BONE STOCK!! Aside from carbon fiber hood and deck spoiler. But not for long.....
Gone but not forgotten: 2004 Crossfire, SpeedInnovations ECU, tinted tail lights.
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Old 09-28-2005, 08:34 PM
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