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Spy Shots: 2015 Chrysler 200

Reshaping what’s exported from Detroit.

by on Oct.03, 2013

A camouflaged 2015 Chrysler 200 still reveals a few of its secrets. Photo Credit: Jim Dunne/CAR SPY

Chrysler has had a history of pulling off some magic over the years, in some instances by coming up with truly breakthrough products such as the original Dodge Caravan and Jeep Grand Cherokee, other times by yanking a rabbit out of a well-worn hat, as it did when it tweaked the tired-upon-arrival Chrysler Sebring and transformed it into the so-so Chrysler 200.

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How much of that had to do with the powerful “Imported from Detroit” ad campaign that launched with a 2-minute Super Bowl spot featuring rapper Eminem? Well, that’s for another conversation, but that trick likely wouldn’t work again, and Chrysler knows it — which is why the maker is rushing to get an all-new replacement ready for the 2015 model-year.

We’ve been catching glimpses of “mules” running around for months, but these are the first good images our veteran spy photographer Jim Dunne has been able to capture of the 200 in its own skin – albeit heavily camouflaged. Nonetheless, you only have to squint slightly to get a sense of what’s coming.


Chrysler Chief Eyes More Product

$450 mil invested to expand flexibility at key plant.

by on Dec.07, 2010

Originally slated for closure, Chrysler's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant could now be critical to the maker's revival.

Chrysler Group’s $450 million investment in a new paint shop at a Michigan assembly line will permit the plant to build several different models, not just compact cars, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters.

“There is going to be a whole new level of flexibility,” Marchionne said, enabling the plant to build a variety of products beyond what rolls out of the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant today.

Originally considered unnecessary as part of Chrysler’s revival plan, the facility has more than just gotten a reprieve, as the Italian executive made clear during a Tuesday visit.

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“Today is a historic day for this facility. Not more than 18 months ago, it was slated to close at the end of this year,” Marchionne said. “Now, this plant will not only remain open beyond 2012 and retain jobs, but with the help of the State of Michigan and the City of Sterling Heights, we will make a significant investment in this facility to make it competitive with the best in the industry.


Chrysler Might Finally Be Awakening From Long Slumber

Automaker has a raft of new products ready to hit showrooms.

by on Nov.08, 2010

The 2011 Dodge Avenger is restyled and has new engines and a recalibrated suspension.

For the last four years, there didn’t seem to be much happening on Planet Chrysler. There was a dearth of new product and the ones that it did introduce were largely panned as poorly designed, engineered and styled.

In that time, three masters ruled the company – Daimler, Cerberus and now Fiat – all with their own thoughts on how to run the company.

And in the middle of the whole charade, the automaker came very close to shutting down altogether before the government stepped in, pumped it full of cash and arranged the shotgun marriage with Fiat.

Even though there hasn’t seem to be much outward appearance to show for it, the folks in Auburn Hills were busy. Busy as elves in Santa’s workshop getting ready for Christmas, as it turns out.

Even better than feverishly working to bring these new products to market, it would appear that the stuff might actually be good. So far, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been getting rave reviews. Some of the other vehicles show that the automaker has finally come out of its styling funk.

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And now it would appear the smallest of the Detroit Three automakers is ready to reap the benefits of all that work. Chrysler has so much product that has recently hit the street or will go on sale in the coming months that it would be hard to keep track of it all without a scorecard.

And that’s just the first wave. Next will come the new cars that are based on Fiat DNA, plus engines using Fiat technology.

Here’s a quick look at some of the products that have recently been introduced or will be available in Chrysler showrooms in the coming months.

Chrysler Buying Back Plant Tossed in Chapter 11

But no clear plans for Sterling Heights facility after 2012.

by on Feb.19, 2010

The plant builds sedans, including Chrysler Sebring. Sales are down since its 2007 debut.

As part of its bankruptcy, last year, Chrysler abandoned seven factories; but now the automaker wants one of those facilities back, and plans to buy back the assembly line, in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

The move, if approved by a U.S. bankruptcy court judge, next month, would give the automaker a place to produce midsize sedans like the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger – both of which are due for “significan” redesigns as part of Chrysler’s upcoming product blitz.

The updated models are scheduled to remain in production through the 2012 model-year.  The following year, the U.S. maker switches to an all-new platform developed by its Italian partner, Fiat.

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Chrysler will not say whether Sterling Heights would pick up any new products based on that new platform but going forward, the company intends to increase the flexibility of its plants, according to CEO Sergio Marchionne.  That would make it possible for the Sterling Heights plant to produce any number of future Chrysler offerings, indeed, numerous platforms simultaneously.   (more…)

Chrysler Sales Dive 48% in April

"We know where the bottom is," said Jim Press.

by on May.01, 2009

Jim Press with Challenger

Not very many people are buying vehicles.

Bankrupt Chrysler LLC experienced the kind of sales performance in April that caused its financial difficulties in the first place, as sales dropped to 43,138 vehicles, or -48%, compared with 83,348 a year ago.

Year-to-date sales dropped to 323,890 vehicles, compared with 601,622 in 2008, or -46%. Chrysler Crossfire, PT Cruiser and Sebring; Jeep Compass, Commander and Patriot; Dodge Avenger, Caliber, Durango and Journey — all had sales declines that averaged -70%.

As a result of the ongoing sales slump, Chrysler will extend through May 4 the Employee Pricing Plus Plus (sic) program, which offers the employee price to all customers purchasing or leasing new 2009 Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicles. Customers may also qualify for 0% financing for up to 48 months through Chase bank.  In addition to the employee price, customers are eligible for cash discounts of up to $3,500 on 2009 model year vehicles. 

The Company finished the month with 336,913 vehicles in inventory, representing a 114 day supply.  Inventory is down 20% compared with April 2008, when it totaled 422,353 units. All of Chrysler’s North American plants will be closed until it emerges from bankruptcy, the company said yesterday.

As always sales executives attempted to stay positive in the face of a clear disaster.

“The industry appears to have stabilized, as it’s been fairly level for the past four months,” said Jim Press, Vice Chairman and President, Chrysler LLC. “We know where the bottom is and, as the economy struggles to recover, vehicle sales should follow.” (more…)