Jude P. Morte / | April 12, 2005 00:00Once upon a time, the Philippines was under American rule; hence, Filipinos have had a love affair with many things American up to the present day. Fastfood, Hollywood and the acquisition of greenbacks are among the many things that have captured the hearts of Filipinos, both then and now.
CATS Motors, Inc. (official distributor of Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep vehicles in the Philippines) hopes to add fuel to the Filipino passion for most things American with the recent introduction of three new models – the Dodge Durango 4x4 Limited Edition sport utility vehicle (SUV), the Chrysler Town and Country minivan and the Chrysler 300C sedan.
The aforementioned three vehicles, dubbed as the American Dream Machines, were launched in an Americana-inspired setting at the NBC Tent at The Fort (Taguig City), with the hopes of claiming a big slice of the luxury automotive market pie. "These are exciting times for the automotive industry and the Philippine economy. We are confident that the prospects for Chrysler getting into the market are excellent, so we have made substantial investments in showroom, inventory and service matters in order to give the Filipino elite a chance to own a slice of Americana," said Greg Yu, CATS Motors, Inc. chairman.
Chrysler Town and Country
The first slice of Chrysler Americana comes in the form of a minivan. All new for 2005, the Php 2.15M vehicle offers a "Stow N' Go" feature that allows the second row seats to be folded into the floor with virtually effortless one-hand operation. The third row seats can be folded in a 60/40 split bench manner and can be folded individually or in its entirety into the floor with the same effortless one-hand operation. The plus here is that pinched fingers (from moving one's hand around to move or remove seats) can be avoided and that seat headrests need not be removed before the seats are folded into the floor. Thus, when folded, the minivan can swallow eight to nine travel bags or a flight of golf clubs.
Another important feature of the minivan is its Town and Country-first standard door alert, which activates the signal lights when the power sliding doors or the manual sliding doors are in operation, signaling occupants getting in and out of the vehicle. The sliding doors also come with a "hand-sensitive" feature, in which the sliding doors retract if something comes between the door jambs and the door proper.
The seven-seater Town and Country comes with a 3.8-liter V6 engine, pushing 215 hp and 245 lbs. ft. of torque.
Dodge Durango 4x4 Limited
The Php 2.45 M Dodge Durango 4x4 Limited Edition comes with an all-new exterior design, influenced by the design of the 1946 Dodge Power Wagon. Short front and rear overhangs, prominent wheel arches and a dramatically sloping windshield improves aerodynamics and fuel efficiency. Single headlamp covers hide dual lamps that add to the strong but curvy design of the SUV, while the "afterburner" taillights provide a clean look to the rear exterior. "The powerful design recalls the Dodge heritage and delivers a sense of strength, but with a crisp, sculpted look," said Dodge vice-president for truck design Rick Aneiros.
Standout features when it comes to the Durango's interior are the large "fastfood" bin at the base of the center console and the automatic temperature control (ATC) climate control system. The latter system uses a dedicated microprocessor and an infrared sensor mounted in the overhead console to measure the temperature of the driver, cabin, and the engine cooling system, delaying the flow of air in cold conditions until warm air is available. Also, the rear doors open 90 degrees for very easy entry and exit.
The Durango also features a seven-inch length increase, a three-inch width increase, and a three-inch height increase to provide better seating for seven. The Durango comes with a 4.7-liter single overhead camshaft (SOHC) V8 16-valve engine that puts out 235 hp and 300 lbs. ft.
The Php 2.55 M sedan comes with 18-inch wheels and a 3.5-liter SOHC 24-valve V6 engine that puts out 250 hp and 250 lbs. ft of torque. Reminiscent of its bigger Maybach brethren and the Bentley line of sedans, the 300C displays a grille inspired by the 1998 V10 Dodge Chronos concept car. The headlamps employ a projector low beam lamp contained in a unique circular lamp bezel.
The interior has a four-gauge instrument cluster with light silver faces an chrome trim rings. The center stack of the instrument panel contains an analog clock, along with a Boston Acoustics radio and an integrated navigation feature.
The 300C also offers rear wheel drive technology that contains a two-piece driveshaft that is collapsible, enhancing passenger protection during frontal and offset frontal impacts. Also, the rear differential is double isolated and precision matched to the driveshaft for reduced noise, vibration and harshness.