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Chrysler scraps luxury sedan on fuel-standard concerns

July 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

Chrysler said Tuesday that it had pulled the plug on planned production of what would have been its largest and heaviest luxury car because of expected increases in U.S. fuel efficiency standards.

Officials said the decision to scrap a production version of the Imperial -- shown at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in Detroit -- was made during the last two weeks.

"The decision to build the Imperial concept was always contingent upon our ability to create a profitable business case for the vehicle," said David Elshoff, a spokesman for Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler Group. "There was no way we could do that."

Elshoff said legislation passed in the U.S. Senate that would require the auto industry to meet a combined vehicle standard of 35 miles per gallon by 2020 prompted the decision to halt production plans.

No other vehicles in Chrysler's truck-heavy lineup currently face elimination because of the anticipated benchmarks, he said.

A production version of the Imperial was to have been built at Chrysler's plant in Brampton, Canada. Elshoff said a decision was likely to be made by the end of the year about future investment in the 3,500-employee plant, which also produces the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, Charger and Challenger.

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