July 2, 2007 - 12:01 amDETROIT - The Chrysler Crossfire - once a dramatic symbol of the promised synergies in the DaimlerChrysler merger, a marriage of German technology and American style - has become a bargain bin sports car.
That merger is ending with the sale of Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management, but the Crossfire will soldier on. The 2008 model goes into production this summer, adding a tire pressure monitoring system and other minor changes.
In 2006, Crossfire orders were suspended because of slow sales. Unsold 2006 and 2007 Crossfires sat in storage in Europe until shipments resumed this spring.
A Chrysler spokeswoman said production of the Crossfire never ceased, but the company stopped taking orders for seven or eight months in North America to "balance" the inventory. U.S. sales fell to 8,216 last year, down from 14,665 in 2005.
In the second quarter of 2007, Crossfire prices less customer cash averaged $27,526, down from $32,460 in the second quarter of 2005, according to Power Information Network data. The base price for the Crossfire coupe when it debuted as a 2004 model was $34,495, including shipping.
Despite the plunge in sales and transaction prices, Chrysler says it's happy with the Crossfire's performance. "We've been outselling the Audi TT," said Chrysler Crossfire engineer Allan Mecca "In our mind, it's meeting expectations."
U.S. sales of premium sporty cars, first 5 months of 2007
Chevrolet Corvette: 14,703
Mercedes-Benz CLK: 7,038
Chrysler Crossfire: 4,544
BMW Z4: 3,742
Mercedes-Benz SLK: 3,646
Source: Automotive News Data Center