It's time to say goodbye to two auto industry icons. The Chrysler 300 and Honda e are totally different in every way, from how they look to who buys them. So what do they have in common? They both played significant roles for the brands that built them.

Here's how the small Honda from Japan and the big Chrysler from the States changed the automotive industry. 

Polar Opposites

The Chrysler 300 is a large sedan powered by V6 or V8 engines, some of which turn the 198.6 inch boat into a throaty muscle car. The 300 borrowed bits from the Mercedes-Benz E-Class back when Daimler Chrysler was a thing. Once upon a time, it would match up to now-dead competitors like the Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, and Toyota Avalon, among others. But now it's the last player in the segment.

Motor1 Numbers Farewell To Icons

On the other hand, the Honda e is an electric B-segment hatchback designed for the tastes of motorists in Japan and throughout Europe. Its retro design is a callback to small, boxy city cars but underneath exists a modern electric powertrain. The Honda e was intended to be the brand's first mass-market EV, though it didn't quite work out that way.

A Lifesaver

The 300 gave Chrysler an international edge. In fact, the first generation of the 300 (available between 2004 and 2010) used many elements of the Mercedes E-Class W211. The second-generation debuted in 2011, though it was largely an update of the original.

Motor1 Numbers Farewell To Icons

Fiat's takeover of Chrysler was an opportunity to expand the 300's presence. In 2011, Lancia decided to rebadge the 300 and sell it in Europe as the Thema. The operation failed, with just 6,000 units sold between 2011 and 2014. Approximately 1.4 million 300s were sold (including the aforementioned Themas) in almost 20 years. The 300 was never an overall best-selling car, but it did have an impact on the automotive world. If nothing else, it was a lifesaver for Chrysler.

As Iconic As It Is Unpopular

Meanwhile at Honda, the impact of the Honda e isn't about sales volume. It's about how the small hatch put an electric Honda on the map. Although the EV's specifications weren't mind blowing, the Honda e captured the public's attention thanks to its cute design. It's also noteworthy as being the vehicle that ushered Honda into the modern mainstream battery-electric market. 

Motor1 Numbers Farewell To Icons

The little Honda e never wanted to shake up the world of electric vehicles, however. It had a high price and limited range – big limitations in the first phase of the electrification era. The results of that are quite clear: Honda sold just 12,500 units of this small car between 2020 and November 2023, with European volume accounting for over 80 percent of the total. And yet, despite the lackluster sales, it's a car that won't be forgotten anytime soon.

The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is the Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.

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