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PT Cruiser not dead yet

Personal Transport: Hot-rod styling features on both PT Cruiser and Caliber.

Far from dropping it in favour of Dodge's Caliber, Chrysler Group plans a special PT Cruiser

28 Aug 2006

THE arrival of the Dodge Caliber will not mean the death of the Chrysler PT Cruiser.

Although the Dodge Caliber 2.0-litre CVT SXT matches the 2.4-litre PT Cruiser’s $29,990 price point, Chrysler Group Australia general manager, sales, Brad Fitzsimmons, says there is room in the portfolio for both products.

Mr Fitzsimmons said there were no plans to kill off the PT Cruiser as it attracted a different type of buyer, and is adamant there is room in the CGA line-up for both PT and Caliber.

"PT is having a ripper year... Cabrio is doing really well for us and the sedan is doing as well this year as (it did) last year," he said.

"Last week was our best order week for PT Cruiser we’ve ever had. It’s very strong."The PT Cruiser has been on sale for the past six years, largely as a niche vehicle for Chrysler, selling to enthusiasts who like the hatch’s throw-back 1950s hot-rod styling.

So far this year CGA has sold more than 550 PT Cruisers, including the just-launched PT Cruiser Cabrio.

Its peak sales year was 2005 when 1001 were sold and 2001, its first full year on sale, when Chrysler sold 1096.

"I tend to think PT Cruiser is not as far out of mainstream now as it was when it was launched," Mr Fitzsimmons said.

"A lot more cars now are more sculptured, heavily sculptured grilles and wheel-arches. Maybe the market is coming back to it now.

"It’s not as ‘out there’ as it once was."To keep the PT Cruiser momentum going after the launch of the Cabrio, CGA will launch the Pacific Coast Highway limited-edition version in January.

It is the 12th factory-customised PT Cruiser in the model’s history.

The car will be based on the Touring model but will receive cosmetic updates and will be powered by the same 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine that powers other variants.

Visually the PCH edition features Ocean Blue paint and sits on platinum-clad 17-inch alloys. Chrome trim dots the exterior on the grille, door handles, side molding and exhaust tip. A matching Ocean Blue spoiler also sits on top of the hatch.

The two-tone interior is done in Slate Gray and Paste Slate Gray, while the seats get Ocean Blue Alias inserts that visually links them with the exterior color.

CGA has been allocated just 60 examples of the limited-edition car.

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