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skylight 05 May 2003 09:28 pm

Chrysler to Offer New Cheaper GT Turbo
Chrysler to offer new, cheaper PT Cruiser turbo model aimed at young buyers
By MARY CONNELLY | Automotive News

DETROIT -- In August, the Chrysler group will try to boost sales of the PT Cruiser by offering a cheaper turbocharged model.

The current Chrysler PT Turbo is too pricey for young buyers seeking a powerful engine, says Gary Dilts, Chrysler group senior vice president of sales.

"The base turbo model starts this summer. It will come in at a more traditional base price," Dilts says. The price of the less expensive PT Turbo has not been announced.

The company declined to say if it will keep the more expensive current turbo model along with the new cheaper version in the 2004 model year.

The 2003 PT Turbo sputtered in the market because of its premium price, Dilts says.

"The big criticism of the PT Cruiser, especially from the youth market, was that it is not powerful enough," he says. "The turbo delivers significant power to the vehicle, but it also comes with an equipment package which raised the price $2,500."

The base sticker price of the PT Turbo is $23,280, including destination charges.

Through April, PT Cruiser sales were down 17.0 percent to 40,740 units, compared with a year ago.

The 2003 Chrysler PT Turbo generates 215 hp, compared with the 150 hp of the base vehicle. The turbo and base model have a 2.4-liter, dual-overhead-cam, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine.

When it hit the market, Chrysler marketers said the turbo model was aimed at "performance-minded buyers." The company packaged the more powerful engine with a performance-tuned exhaust system, four wheel disc brakes, antilock brakes, 17-inch cast aluminum wheels and 17-inch tires. The turbo models sport body-colored front and rear fascias and what the company calls "performance front seats."

The company declined to say what equipment the less expensive PT Turbo will have.

Volkswagen also has turned to turbocharging to bolster interest in its New Beetle. For example, VW added a turbo engine to the model in the spring of 1999, one year after introduction.

The PT Turbo may be "too little too late," says Michael Robinet, vice president of global forecast services at CSM Worldwide in Farmington Hills, Mich.

"People who really wanted a PT Cruiser already have one," Robinet says. "Now, PT Cruiser has to compete more in the mainstream."

Gary04GT 05 May 2003 10:23 pm

Interesting--no wonder there have been significant rebates this year. However, for me, I like the leather, moon-roof, and 17-inch chrome wheels :D even it they add to the base price as I don't plan to sell the car anytime soon.

sakigt 05 May 2003 11:05 pm

Hey, Im 20...if ya really want the find a way ;)

GTcamster 06 May 2003 02:08 am

I agree with sakigt, Im 28 and make almost minimum wage, I wanted this car, and found a way. so what if its a little price'y, that just means I have a cooler car. Besides, give this "waterd down" car to a younger driver, and it will be wraped around a light poll, seeing as it makes all of us 16 to 20 once again[8]

PK Cruiser 06 May 2003 07:08 am

26 here and got one and LOVE her...can't wait to get some extra cash and get my boost gauge, EGT gauge, boost controller, stuff like that...(Already installed bullet fuel door, chrome antenna bezel, door sill plates, shortie antenna, altezza lights, kenwood mp3/cd receiver, 6 x 8 pioneer speakers in the back, 12' sub, mirror reverse/reflector light trim...think that is it at the moment)

DTs_PTGT 06 May 2003 09:08 am

It sounds like they're just going to take all the goodies (ABS + 4 wheel disc, 17" rims / tires) and make them optional. Personally, I wanted ABS and 4 wheel disc brakes in my new car so it looks like I'd end up with the same bill at the end of the day.

I don't understand why every car doesn't have 4 wheel disc brakes. Does anyone here believe drum brakes are more effective or less complicated than disc brakes? Besides, if you have the turbo and are driving faster, wouldn't it make sense (from a safety standpoint) to have a better braking system?

I also don't know about the comment "People who really wanted a PT Cruiser already have one,". I've been interested in the PT since it came out, but it wasn't until last month that I was in a position to get one.

Dalite 06 May 2003 09:16 am

Interesting concept. I wanted the turbo from the time it was announced. However, the price, and trade in value of my '02 TE held me back in buying it as soon as it came out.[V]

Nearly a year later (April '03 - Dealers started taking Orders for the Turbo in June 2002), the dealerships started carrying turbos in 5 speed models, and there were rebates. Rebates actually started a few months before, but I had lost interest when my local dealer delayed ordering for months, and was claiming the 5 speed wasn't out yet, as recently as a month before I purchased one in April 2003.[:I]

All the models I saw had cloth seats, no seat height adjustment, and no frills, ecept for the standard ABS Brakes and Traction Control. Most came with the baseline RBQ radio with CD. It would seem that Chrysler had already learned the score by the first quarter of 2003 and was making a large number of GTs in near base configuration.

They had already dropped the rear sway bar, 2nd horn, folding - heated outside rearview mirrors, illumination for rear window switches, foot rest on left of pedals; all of these deletions from the 2002 build level in an apparent attempt to cut cost and still sell for more money. Apparently DC's Marketing Dept. is infested with very slow learners.

With that in mind, I am extremely interested in what other deletions that they can make and still produce a car that can make it past the test drive without safety concerns, and one that will make the 12 month 12k mile warranty benchmark in one piece.

I can envision that ABS and Traction control will fall by the wayside, cheaper cloth covered seats; maybe even viny covered, baseline 15" steel wheels and tires, no power outlets; other than cigar lighter outlet, the re-emergence of the non-air-conditioned models, fixed-non-remote outside mirror(driver's side only), no vanity mirror in the overhead visors; no overhead console, single interior dome light, no tach, no center floor console, AM/FM radio only with no Dash Speakers or Rear Speakers..... (Well, maybe a Tach)..

I have complete confidence that DC will find other ways to cheapen the production, and destroy the well thought out interior comfort level of design and all that made the PT Cruiser the success it was. Maybe this is a good omen. If DC can kill all future sales of the PT Cruiser, our investments may have some future value again. As it is, they seem to loose nearly $1k per month in depreciation for the first 12 to 18 months.

If anyone remembers what happened with the Jeep CJ series when they went with the plastic interior (courtesy of Renault) and square headlights; only to be forced to rethink the headlight issue because of customer rejection of the deviation from the proven design that made the Jeep what it was... Maybe DC will learn from it's mistakes.

However, if we, the PT Cruiser owners, the ones that have kept the love affair alive, keep giving DC a free pass on the deletion of the sway bar and 2nd horn; both potential safety issues, they will continue to try to find the market's breaking point. They will continue to see what all they can delete and still have price increases.

Only time will tell. [xx(]

ggt2001 06 May 2003 02:12 pm


quote:Originally posted by PK Cruiser

26 here and got one and LOVE her...can't wait to get some extra cash and get my boost gauge, EGT gauge, boost controller, stuff like that...(Already installed bullet fuel door, chrome antenna bezel, door sill plates, shortie antenna, altezza lights, kenwood mp3/cd receiver, 6 x 8 pioneer speakers in the back, 12' sub, mirror reverse/reflector light trim...think that is it at the moment)

Gary04GT 06 May 2003 02:25 pm

Welcome to the forum, ggt2001--a great place learn more about the PTC and share ideas. [|)]

Stephen R. 06 May 2003 03:09 pm

It would be nice to be able to get a stripper PT Turbo... then spend the extra $$$ in the aftermarket. What will they cut? My guess is the luxury items - especially power locks & mirrors and cruise. Radio delete would also be nice as would manual windows (not holding my breath on that one).

As far as the drivetrain, 4-wheel-discs are a MUST. Wheels? I dont't really know, but token rims are okay with me since they are the first thing to go out the window.

I think DC's approach is to get a wider audience "IN THEIR CARS". Get them in a Chrysler product instead of those POS Hundies. And it frees up cash to do the custom mods as funds permit.

I have noticed the decontenting of the car over the model years (you forgot the deletion of the hood prop-rod rubber thingie) but I am glad to hear there's now going to be more of a choice. On the opposite side of the coin, my sister is looking at the Acura TSX which is the Japanese & Euro market Accord. The only "choices" they have on it are navigation, tranny & color [:0]

Thank you Chrysler for for reaffirming that America's favorite "C" word is CHOICE.

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