The final new Chrysler has been sold in Australia, about a year after the last shipments arrived from North America. It’s unclear when – or if – the brand will ever return to local showrooms.
US car maker Chrysler has sold its last new vehicle in Australia – after its parent company withdrew from right-hand-drive markets amid a steady sales decline over the past decade.
The final example of the Chrysler 300 sedan – the company’s last right-hand-drive model – was sold to a private buyer in September 2022, a spokesperson for the company’s factory-backed importer told Drive.
It marks the death of the final V8-engined sedan priced from less than $100,000 in Australia, after the demise of Holden Commodore V8 in 2017 and Ford Falcon V8 in 2016.
Chrysler confirmed its intention to depart the Australian market – and end production of right-hand-drive cars – in late 2021, as sales slowed to a trickle over the past decade.
Order books for the Chrysler 300 closed progressively throughout 2021. Only 79 examples were reported as sold in 2022, as the final cars in dealer stock were sold.
In 2000 Chrysler reported 6144 new vehicles as sold in Australia; in 2021 it reported 170 cars as sold.
In the end Chrysler only had one car remaining in local showrooms – the 300 sedan – as new models launched overseas were not manufactured in right-hand drive.
Among the last customers for the V8-engined Chrysler 300 SRT in Australia was NSW Police. The V8 sedan was a part of its highway-patrol fleet alongside the BMW 530d diesel as successors to home-grown Holden and Ford sedans.
Chrysler cars remain on sale in the US, with the Pacifica people mover (never sold in Australia), and the final year of production for the 300 – alongside its twins under the skin, the Dodge Challenger and Charger muscle cars.
The brand may return to Australia in the second half of this decade with a new range of electric cars – which Drive has reported is slated to include a large sedan to succeed the Chrysler 300 – but this is yet to be confirmed.
The first Chryslers were sold in Australia in the late 1920s in the form of locally-designed bodies fitted to Chrysler chassis – before Chrysler in the US took over the local operation in 1951.
At its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s Chrysler sold more than 40,000 cars in Australia per year – including the iconic Valiant series launched in 1963.
The company sold its Tonsley Park factory in Adelaide to Mitsubishi in 1980, and departed the local market soon after – but returned in 1994 with a range of Jeep SUVs, and later cars such as the Chrysler Neon small sedan and Chrysler Voyager people mover.
The just-departed Chrysler 300 generation was introduced to Australia in 2012 – though it was a ‘reskin’ of the first-generation Chrysler 300 launched in 2005, which shares DNA with an early-2000s Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Priced from $72,450 plus on-road costs, the final Chrysler 300 SRT sedans were powered by 6.4-litre ‘Hemi’ V8 engines with 350kW and 637Nm, good for 0-100km/h in about five seconds.
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