Style is everything when buying the retro ‘hot-rod’ PT Cruiser said Steve Grey, marketing director of Chrysler Group UK, this week at the introduction to the UK press of their revised 2006 Cruiser range.
From their survey of current PT Cruiser owners Steve Grey said the three top reasons why customers had bought a PT Cruiser all included a reference to style.
He added, “Ninety seven per cent said they like cars with unusual styling, 85 per cent said they like cars which attract attention and 82 per cent said they like looking at beautiful cars.”
The current UK customer profile survey also shows us that the number of male buyers has increased to 70 per cent and the retired ownership has rocketed from just 6 per cent to 21 per cent.
Responding to who actually buys a PT Cruiser Steve Grey said, “We have a broad spread of owners - arty bohemian types to out and out style enthusiasts and everybody in between. They can live in the town or country or in any part of the UK, there is no pattern.”
“The one thing that pulls all these customers together is they love the unique styling of the car and on average customers buy two of these cars before moving on to a different type of vehicle.”
Chrysler expects the current PT Cruiser concept to have at least another five years of model life.
Grey said," We see the PT Cruiser as a five-door hatchback selling in the C segment of the new car market. However our car is more than just a hatchback. It has 32 seating configurations with up to 64.2 cubic feet of cargo space, one cubic foot less than a Jeep Grand Cherokee. By folding down the front passenger seat you can carry items up to eight feet in length when needed.”
“The C segment is worth 750,0000 new car sales a year in the UK and it includes such diverse models as medium-sized MPVs, such as the Citroen Picasso and Vauxhall Zafira, through to conventional hatchbacks such as the VW Golf and Ford Focus.”
Launched globally in 2000 world sales of the PT Cruiser, which is built in Mexico, have reached the one million mark with 120,000 of those being sold in Western Europe. The UK is the largest European market for the PT Cruiser with 20,000 sales to date.
In 2006 Chrysler Group expect to sell 2,700 PT Cruisers in the UK with the five door hatchback body shape and a further 900 right hand drive Cabrio versions after they go on sale in March 2006.
The launch of the re-styled range gives the Cruiser minor exterior changes, including a new grille in keeping with the new face of Chrysler but an all-new interior and a more powerful and fuel-efficient diesel engine are the key changes expected to attract more sales. The 2.4-litre petrol unit is unchanged.
Sales have fallen in the UK from a high of 3,628 sales in 2003 down to an expected level of 2,500 this year. Currently 40 per cent of sales are for the diesel model but this will increase to 50 per cent with the new 2.2-litre, 148bhp Mercedes sourced engine. The 141bhp petrol engine remains in the line-up.
Grey said prices have not risen despite the styling and other technical changes and the provision of a much more powerful and Euro IV compliant diesel engine.
Prices range from £12,995 to £17,225. Two special-action Route 66 models are introduced, 100 in black and 50 in bright yellow. The petrol model is priced at £15,440 and the diesel at £16,640. An £800 automatic transmission option is available for 2.4-litre petrol Touring, Limited and Route 66 variants. An electric sunroof for Limited variants costs £500.Published 26 November 2005