The Chrysler 200 has been a bright spot in the Chrysler Group’s post-bankruptcy renaissance, but it’s overdue for an overhaul. It’s a good thing, then, that Chrysler will reportedly release a 2015 model-year car in January 2014.
The Chrysler 200 was introduced in late 2010 as a 2011-model-year car. Essentially a heavily refreshed Sebring, it sold just 255 copies in 2010, but sales quickly picked up after the 200 starred in Chrysler’s infamous “Imported from Detroit” advertisement during the 2011 Super Bowl. The 200’s numbers passed the Sebring’s old totals: Chrysler sold 87,033 units in 2011 and 125,476 units last year.
The car might be a sales success, but the Chrysler 200 has been much maligned by most of the automotive media. The response hasn’t gone unnoticed in Auburn Hills, and we reported last year that Chrysler is promising big things for the next-generation car. Chrysler Group Senior VP of Design Ralph Gilles says that the next car will look unlike “any Chrysler we’ve ever seen,” perhaps debuting a new design language for the company. Other Chrysler executives have promised of late that the 200 isn’t gunning to replace the Sebring on Enterprise lots; it’s shooting for mid-size supremacy.
The car is probably about ready, because Automotive News reports today that the new car will go into production at the Sterling Heights, Michigan assembly plant in July and go on sale in January 2014 as a 2015 model. It’s a move that would interrupt the 2014 model year, which is as clear an indication as any that Chrysler is pushing hard.
From what we’ve heard and reported so far, we anticipate that the car will continue with a choice of an I-4 or V-6 engine, just as before. This time around, the Chrysler 200 will likely use the 2.4-liter Tigershark I-4 from the Dart, as well as the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 from numerous other Chrysler/Dodge/Ram products. The transmission is rumored to be ZF’s nine-speed automatic, which will reportedly let the 2.4-liter 200 achieve 38 mpg highway.
What we don’t know yet is if these changes will go directly to the Dodge Avenger, since it’s still not clear if that car will live on past this generation. We’ve previously reported that the Avenger would die by 2015 and be replaced by a crossover in 2016 that also takes over for the Journey.