Chrysler Crossfire Caught in Nardelli's Crossfire

Will anyone miss the Chrysler Crossfire? Chrysler has announced the 3-year-old German-American sportscar which starts at $30,000, is being cut, along with three other Chrysler models (Pacifica, Dodge Magnum and the convertible version of the PT Cruiser.

Maybe you never even heard of it. The 215-horsepower Crossfire, available as a coupe and roadster, was launched in 2004. Hailed as the first car to highlight the enormous “synergies” between Daimler and Chrysler, it is now a glaring emblem of the failed merger.

Back in 2003, Daimler managers touted the Crossfire as a halo-model for Chrysler. The Crossfire shared many components with the first-generation Mercedes SLK and was built for DaimlerChrysler by Karmann in Germany. The idea was to blend German engineering and American automotive style. Above all, it was to lend the ailing American automaker real German sportscar cache.

But alas, the Crossfire concept was as flawed as the merger. No one who wants a racy European sportscar buys a Chrysler, no matter where it is made or how many parts it shares with a Mercedes. And Americans aren’t into paying big bucks for a bit of German halo. In addition, the steering is lackluster and the ride was unremarkable (according to Hence, the halo never appeared in sufficient numbers for anyone to see it.

Total production plummeted from 35,600 cars in 2003 to 12,500 in 2005. I can’t find 2006 numbers, but the car was discontinued in the US in 2007, so they much have been disastrous. The only remaining question is how much the discarded cross-breeding experiment cost.

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