(01/16/14) - Many automotive experts think the midsize car segment is the
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler announced plans to make the field a little more crowded.
Chrysler didn't want to be held back by old technology when building its new midsize model. So, the company spent a $1 billion improving its assembly plant in Sterling Heights.
"It is absolutely perfect. It is fully robotic. It's designed to build perfection," said Al Gardner, Chrysler president and CEO.
The 2015 200 will be built at Sterling Heights Assembly. When it came to designing the car, parent company FIAT let the Americans have a free hand.
"Luckily, we had a clean sheet of paper. So we were able to create a design that's very beautiful, very flowing," said Brandon Faurote, Chrysler exterior designer.
"It's American made, that's designed and built for this country for an American public," Gardner said.
Chrysler likes to brag that the 200, which should be in dealer showrooms this summer, is the first midsize sedan with a standard nine speed automatic transmission. Highway fuel economy could hit 35 miles a gallon.
All-wheel drive will be an option. When all four wheels are not needed, the rear axle will disconnect from the system, reducing friction and improving mileage.
The Auburn Hills-based company says when customers get behind the wheel of the 200, they'll be sold.
"Whatever age that person is, they get into that product, they're going to go, 'Wow. This thing is not what I thought it was going to be.' It's a spectacular product. Beautiful interiors and it performs," Gardner said.
Chrysler admits it will have to work hard to persuade people to take a look at the 200.
"The quality is outstanding in these products. Now, do we need to improve the perception? Absolutely, and that, frankly, is the way I look at it. That's what this car has to do," Gardner said.
Pricing for the 2015 Chrysler 200 starts at $22,000.
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