New Chrysler 200: conceived for 2 continents

The Chrysler 200C EV is a concept presented by the brand in 2009, just before it was bought by Fiat. It was a big sedan with advanced technology and an electric engine. It is unclear wether the new 200 will include some of its features.

The Chrysler 200C EV is a concept presented by the brand in 2009, just before it was bought by Fiat. It was a big sedan with advanced technology and an electric engine. It is unclear whether the new 200 will include some of its features or not.

After months waiting for it, Chrysler will finally present the new 200 sedan in January 2014 at the Detroit motor show. The car was supposedly released in a private event with specialized press, and is expected to help Chrysler to gain more market share in the passenger car segments. A big part of the success of recent years has come from the good sales results in SUV, trucks and MPVs segments, but registrations coming from regular cars from ‘C’ to ‘E’ segments haven’t had the same jump. The Chrysler 200 and 300 had interesting results but they are still far from their competitors. The same happens to the Dodge Avenger and Charger, while the Dart is about to complete 1 year in the market, and its sales haven’t been able to surpass the 10.000 units barrier in USA. Sales of ‘D’ and ‘E’ segments grew 18% to 3.6 million units in 2012, or 25% of total market*. Chrysler knows that with current sedan’s offer it can’t maintain its grow rates, and that’s why the next Chrysler 200 is expected to be a revolution in terms of design, features, and technology. The brand wants to catch some market share controlled by the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, and lately by the Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia Optima. Some months later the new Avenger (based on the 200) will attack from Dodge’s perspective.

The future Chrysler 200 must play a better role in the highly competitive American D-Segment. Japanese lead the race, but Ford is doing a great job with the latest Fusion, while Koreans are strong as well.

The future Chrysler 200 must play a better role in the highly competitive American D-Segment. Japanese lead the race, but Ford is doing a great job with the latest Fusion, while Koreans are strong as well.

But the new 200’s goal doesn’t stop there. It is going to be the first car completely developed thinking of 2 brands of the group: Chrysler for NAFTA, and Lancia for Europe. Hence, it will be exported to Europe as a Lancia (Flavia?), and is expected to have a better role in the Italian brand’s range. But it won’t be a rebadged Chrysler. This new car is specially conceived taking into account American and European markets, their needs and behaviors. At the end, it is going to be a ‘global’ car as it is intended to satisfy the demand of 2 different markets. It is more or less what Ford decided to do with the latest generation Fusion (in USA) and Mondeo (Europe). The difference in this case is the production location: USA. According to Automotive News, the new sedan will incorporate the latest technologic features with a fancy and premium interior. Its exterior design was re evaluated once Ford presented the new Fusion with aggressive shapes. Lancia would present it in Geneva 2014, where the brand will finally show an all-new model since the introduction of the Ypsilon.

I used the image of the 200C EV Concept to illustrate how the new Lancia Flavia should be positioned. It should be the rival of the mainstream options that rule in Europe: Opel Insignia, Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508, and VW Passat. It shouldn't compete with Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, or Mercedes C-Class.

I used the image of the 200C EV Concept to illustrate how the new Lancia Flavia should be positioned. It should be the rival of the mainstream options that rule in Europe: Opel Insignia, Ford Mondeo, Peugeot 508, and VW Passat. It shouldn’t compete with Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, or Mercedes C-Class.

How should Lancia position it? there is no doubt that the new Flavia (there is no official name confirmed) is going to be a large sedan (between 4,7 and 4,8 m), following the trend of American D-Sedans. Therefore the car will be part of European D-Segment and its positioning will be the key for its success. In my opinion, Fiat shouldn’t place it as a premium choice, but it should be the ‘Italian’ rival of the Opel Insignia, VW Passat, Peugeot 508, Citroen C5, and Ford Mondeo. European D-Segment is composed by the 3 premium Germans (3-Series, A4, and C-Class), plus the mainstream options, already cited. It means there are two different sub-segments within the segment: the premium and the mainstream one. The difference between them is pricing strategy. BMW, Mercedes, and Audi offer their cars starting at 33.000 – 35.000 euros, while the mainstream prices start at 25.000 – 27.000 euros. Lancia should position its new Flavia to compete with mainstream options giving a premium touch, but never competing against the premium Germans, as it won’t have any chance. Normally, the mainstream sedans are larger than the premium ones, and the new Lancia could fit perfectly in this trend, while people in Detroit should work on a SW version, as this kind of body type is quite popular in many European markets. To compete with German premiums there will be the Alfa Romeo Giulia, at the bottom of the sub-segment, while Maserati should have its own D-Sedan at the top of it. Time and prices will tell us how Fiat plans to sell its first car specially conceived for 2 continents.

* Fiat Group’s World data base

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28 responses to “New Chrysler 200: conceived for 2 continents

  1. A really tough one Lancia is. This new Flavia should do ok in Italy. However there needs to be a very compelling reason for it to succeed in the rest of the EU. I can’t see what that is. Do people want “affordable luxury”? Or is it “Sports sedans” that sell? I think you are right about not trying to take on the German premium brands. They should aim for the Passat, 508 etc. Then there’s the added confusion of Lancias not being sold in RHD markets. I think they should reverse this in order to give the brand a good chance of survival. It needs every sale it can get.

  2. Lancia is dead. Chrysler’s cars could be sold in UE as Chryslers without rebadging.

      • Unfortunately the Ypsilon only sells relatively well in Italy, Greece and Poland (where it’s made). It also offers little Lancia DNA, rates below average in most road tests. DeWitte is right, in most EU countries Chrysler badged models would sell much better..

  3. I hope it’ll come as a Lancia. But as far as rumours in Turin go, it looks like it might NOT come over and they’ll let lancia slowly find its end. sadly.

      • Many nordic ‘Lancia dealers’ are not getting product, i just spoke to one last week who was promised a delivery in March then in May, and is still waiting… He didn’t understand why the delay, there certainly isn’t any production constraints on any Lancia products at the moment. Seems strange to me..

        He said “I have a long list of customers waiting for Voyagers, regardless of name, if I could only get some”. Other Lancia badged Chryslers he wasn’t so sure about. “Chrysler has much better brand awareness here”.

        I suspect FIAT is looking at reintroducing Chrysler in north Europe soon, and perhaps in all of Europe..

  4. Chrysler as a brand has been dead since the 1960’s, even BMW & Audi wish they had the history of Lancia. Kill Chrysler, launch Lancia across the world. That’s the ticket, Marchionne

    • Frank, i agree with DeWitte.Lancia is dead.

      Lancia is not selling in europe,imagine in the world..Is not the time of Aurelia anymore..unfortunately

    • If Audi/VW really wanted Lancia, i’m sure Marcionne would sell. But VW’s Piech only wants Alfa Romeo, and Marchionne won’t sell..

  5. Lancia Ypsilon has big resemblances with old PT Cruiser.
    Actually chryslerization of Lancia begun with the current Ypsilon (2011)

    • One can say that the Delta has also resemblances with the old PT, but it was launched in 2008 and designed years before Lancia-Chrysler wedding. But when you see a new Delta and an old PT C. next to each other, you see big differences. And not just, because originally they had vertical grilles.
      This kind of comparison could also lead to Lancia Gamma- new Jag. XJ or a 5door Corolla (’93) – S5 sportback comparison…

  6. I would buy it instantly if price would not be over 25000 euros.
    Of course it needs to be labeled as Lancia. Italian car lovers who are in need of bigger sedan are forced to buy German and Frances junk. I am hoping of seeing more of these Flavias, Viaggios and Giulias around.

  7. Hopefully my next car, if I like design. Fm present Delta 3 to new Flavia, that’s my dream. Only LANCIA pls.
    Greetings fm Poland for all Lancisti.

  8. “Wait until you see the new 200, your faith in Lancia will be restored.” Ralph Gilles, CEO of Chrysler, said in january to Autoedizione.

  9. Your positioning chart for both the Lancia and Chrysler 200 models is probably close to reality of what it will be. If either brand tries to market the car as an upscale product, lacking current market credentials the cars would probably be discounted to Fusion/Mondeo price levels until there’s some good product history and positive brand awareness. The main problem for Lancia still remains, how do you sell a car everyone knows is an American built Chrysler (regardless if it was jointky designed)? I hasn’t worked at all for the Lancia Thema, the Italian car ‘Imported from Detroit’…

      • The style of new 200 is 100% american. Nothing to do with Lancia Style. Is it better? Perhaps, but it isn’t italian style at all.
        Italian style: look at the cars designed by Pinifarina e Giugiaro.

      • And how do you know? have you seen the new 200? The 500 is a pure Italian design and was designed by Centro Stile. Besides, let me remind you that Fiat bought Chrysler and not the opposite. This means the new cars are made under Fiat indications. And remember that Fiat is Italian, not American

  10. DeWitte, you base brand equity on sales? Hyundai & Kia are travesties- the anti-car, or un-car, or everything that is wrong with car manufacturing. And their sales rise, while are infrastructure collapes, especially in the States. For the sake of car enthusiasts, Marchionne save Lancia, Alfa, & Fiat, who cares what the great unwashed buy in this horrible world.

  11. I don’t think Lancia is facing the axe….yet. They are probably trying to re-invent it using least resources, which is understandable given the entire groups current position. I am guessing that the delays in the current product range is probably due to shortages in the home market. As you know Chrysler group has had 38 straight months of sales gains and the factory capacity is maxxed out. The delay in the new 200 could be because of 2 reasons. The sales of the current 200 is stronger than ever! And the new Ford Fusion’s styling (Very well accepted in the US) which Chrysler wants to beat. The new Delta/Chrysler 100 too seems to be delayed. Probably due to factory capacity, the 9 speed auto getting delayed etc.

  12. Lancia brand is dead. Lancia cars are Chrsylers rebadged, now and in the future.
    Marchionne is using all the cash of Chrysler-Fiat for buying Chrysler shares.
    He has no money for the development of new fancy cars, only for a bunch of “me too” ones.

  13. Has anyone seen spyshots of the new 200 to state anything about its style?
    ”After months waiting for it, Chrysler will finally present the new 200 sedan in January 2014 at the Detroit motor show.” This is the first sentence of this article and it is about the new 200, not the current model. The pictures here may be also confusing showing the model presented in Detroit 2009. The current model (successor of Sebring) looks also different.

    • The new 200 was already presented to some specific journalists, but I couldn’t talk about it as I haven’t seen it yet. That’s why I added these pictures of the concept presented in 2009.

  14. Pingback: American Lancias: the final blow | Fiat Group's World·

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