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Intrepidation

Chrysler, LH and RWD

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Came across some interesting reading on allpar.

The original LH (Intrepid, Concorde, Vision) series was designed to be either front or rear drive, but strong sales meant that the company never had to actually make any rear wheel drive versions. Then sales flagged while market research showed executives that people were leaving cars for SUVs in droves, in search of V8s, rear wheel drive, a high riding position, and lots of extra steel between them and "those other people on the road."

The LX was reportedly in full development swing when Chrysler was bought by Daimler-Benz in exchange for...well, it was reportedly in full swing, but the process was stopped to reengineer the LX to make use of Mercedes components and technologies. Chrysler devoted one of its parts plants to making five-speed automatics based on a Mercedes design, and the electronics architecture was switched to take advantage of Mercedes' experienced with stability control. Eventually, the LX would use a Mercedes-style rear suspension, transmission, steering system, and seats, sharing 20% of its parts with Mercedes. It would also be priced well above the original vehicles, and come out much later.

In 1997, the plan was to have an Intrepid and Concorde replacement, each front wheel drive, as well as a 300N (5 meters), full size rear wheel drive, and either a Charger or 300 convertible. The LH platform was designed for either front or rear wheel drive and could have gone RWD at any time. Third-generation LH models with front, rear, and all wheel drive, which could all have been built together, were built as prototypes, and it would have taken less than ten minutes to switch the line from rear to front drive. Chances are if the takeover had not taken place, the LX series would have appeared in 2002.

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So Chrysler was working on RWD before the takeover, which means the one "good" thing Daimler supposedly gave Chrysler would have happened without them, and sooner.

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