Was it new CAFE rules that killed off the Chrysler Imperial?

Chrysler cited new fuel standards which are almost certain to be passed into law in the near future when it announced that plans to build its new luxury flagship, the Imperial, had been canceled. General Motors made similar comments regarding their plans to build new rear wheel drive large sedans a while back. The timing could not be worse for Detroit to be bringing out new, large, heavy vehicles with large V8 engines in them to market. However, one wonders if these new fuel regulations were entirely to blame, of if that was a convenient scapegoat. Nobody outside the round table in Chrysler's headquarters could possibly know for sure, but we can be sure that the sedan drew "mixed reviews" when it was shown to the public. Many insiders thought that the sedan was unlikely to make it into consumers driveways, and the announcement that is was in fact slated for production shocked some. Did Cerberus rethink this vehicle when it took over the helm? Sure, fuel rules might have played a part in the decision, but maybe not entirely.

Chrysler already offers a diesel engine in the 300 in Europe. Being that the Imperial was to be based on the same platform, a diesel is likely to fit in the engine bay. Also, Jeep offers a perfect candidate in the Mercedes designed diesel V6 in the Grand Cherokee. Additionally, hybrid drivetrains utilizing the Hemi engine are already slated for North America. The Hemi engine already includes cylinder deactivation, which could carry over to the hybrid as well. In such a low volume vehicle with a likely high profit margin such as the Imperial, these drivetrains could almost certainly have been offered in an attempt to offset the fuel mileage problem. Additionally, the more vehicles that these drivetrains are offered in, the less they should cost the automaker in the end. So, how much did new fuel standards impact their decision? Good question.

[Source: Detroit News]

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