Undersized grille was #1 complaint of 2011-2014 Chrysler 300 owners
Not only did the 2005-2001 Chrysler 300 have a big ol' grille, it jutted ahead of the car. The grille was the metaphorical figurehead for the USS 300, and it did its job, making the sedan the Central Casting submission for "in-your-face styling" that rolled down the street winning the game of "Made You Look." The one-billion-dollar redesign for 2011 (pictured above) aimed for more upscale and less aggression - "a more grown-up look" - so the grille shrunk. And Chrysler 300 buyers hated that.
So said Chrysler brand president Al Gardner to Edmunds, relating that the smaller grille was "the No. 1 issue" on the list of customer complaints about the model years from 2011 to 2014. It doesn't appear to have been much loved in-house, either, with Ralph Gilles having said of it, "Our previous generation of leaders didn't understand the car very well, and kind of forced this front end on us." That's why the grille on the 2015 model (pictured in 300S trim, inset) was aggrandized by 33 percent, although it's still not as large as on the first generation, and the more fluid design of the current car doesn't let it stand out as before.
Gardner went on to say that designers "spent more time on the front end than on anything else," in search of, as Gilles put it, "the attitude it deserves." We'll soon find out if that increases the number of buyers it deserves as well.