Back in the automaker’s heyday, the Imperial was the top of the line car for Chrysler. Big, bold, and luxurious, the opulent Imperial line was eventually cancelled, but the car would later show up from time to time as a top of the line Chrysler model, just above the New Yorker. Fortunately, an ugly late 80s/early 90s version of the car never caught on, but the damage was already done. The Imperial name was sullied! DaimlerChrysler [or DCX] is hoping that you have forgotten those truly horrible Imperials as they show off a concept Imperial at well attended auto shows throughout the US in 2006. Will the Imperial make a come back? Maybe, but they need to work on the concept first!
The best thing that has happened to Chrysler was its “merger” with Mercedes to form DCX. Okay, now I have said it. Initially, the relationship between the two companies was extremely rocky but thanks to good management, many of the earlier problems have been worked out. Today, several products which are in Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge showrooms are there thanks to the cash infusion of DCX. Indeed, the Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, and Chrysler 300C are each directly derived from older “M” body Mercedes platforms. This platform has allowed Chrysler to build a line of popular rear wheel drive cars and the three names I just mentioned are part of that line.
Enter the Chrysler Imperial.
Based on the Chrysler 300C platform, the Imperial will be stretched by several inches and sit taller than the 300C. Borrowing styling cues from the Rolls Royce Phantom, the Imperial could retail for at least $60,000 and put it in the same category as models from Cadillac, Lexus, Infiniti, and even Mercedes.
Fine luxurious appointments including leather seating, real wood trim, special interior lighting, and a potent engine are some of the features of the Imperial. Above all, the car would swing Chrysler up market to grab customers fleeing for competing brands. Hey, you need something a bit more luxurious than the 300C to keep upwardly mobile customers in the house!
Ultimately, the decision to build the Imperial may not come from Detroit, but from Stuttgart, the home of Mercedes. If the model is perceived to compete directly against various Mercedes models, than the Imperial will not see the light of day. Then again, a revived Imperial could further strengthen the Chrysler name and help the make compete better against the likes of Buick, Cadillac, Lincoln, Infiniti, Acura, and Lexus.
Time will tell, but the Imperial concept is certainly intriguing. The front end is a bit dowdy, so some reworking of the car is certainly warranted. In all, I hope that the Imperial is revived.